Depression in Teenage Girls due to Social Isolation
Often wrongly dismissed as one of the signs of the hormonal changes, depression is more than mere sadness and encompasses a longer duration spanning weeks to months. It generally affects the person’s ability to function on daily basis.
Depression and anxiety are on the rise especially during the pandemic with teenagers far more likely to get affected. Typically, people have a 20% chance of having an episode of major depression in their teenage years. This pandemic has brought forth unprecedented isolation due to social distancing, lack of school routine, and family stressors.
How do you differentiate sad mood from depression? Sad mood refers to missing a routine, a friend or lack of something. It stays for a brief period – mostly hours or at times a few days – and then one manages to overcome it. Depression is more than sadness and encompasses a longer duration spanning weeks to months. It generally affects the person’s ability to function on daily basis.
Signs of major depression: Symptoms lasting more than 2 weeks.
- physical complaints of headaches, stomachs, lack of sleep, loss of appetite
- social withdrawal and not seeing friends/ family / preferring to being alone
- academic decline and avoiding schoolwork
- substance abuse with vaping, marijuana or other drugs
Risk of suicide is higher with depression in teenage girls if you observe the following:
- Feeling like a burden on family
- Feeling disconnected from family or friends
- Self-harm being inflicted
- Going by this belief that matters will either worsen or will not get any better. Especially, in case of a financial or social stress, made worse with isolation
Also Read: Covid-19 VARIANTS and MUTATION
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How to help a teen with depression?
Discuss with your teen by choosing the right time to validate how tough the situation is and facts about what you have observed. Stick to facts that you are concerned about. Self-disclose if you or others have gone through something similar. Encourage them with the shared emotions and worries.
Once you have talked with the teenager suffering from depression there are things you can try:
- Ensure that he/she stays connected with friends and family with activities
- Encourage and help the teen in crafting and following a routine
- Have an in-person conversation with the teen daily
- Motivate him/her to ensure self-care and allocate time to eat and sleep
- Encourage the teen to participate in the physical activities in a small group
- Suggest self-soothing activities like paint, music, candles
- Limit screen time or isolation time
- Seek professional therapy / consultant with doctors
Mental health disorders are on the rise as one-thirds of the teenagers experience anxiety and depression. This is a concerning problem in the teen years that does not go away with time and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. The depression in teenage girls is often dismissed as a sign of one of the hormonal changes while it is not. Pandemic has caused isolation from friends and other typical distractions including school and sports. Encourage conversation and be ready to listen so you can be of help.