Though it may sound like a sermon delivered from the pulpit of a Church, the new treatment found and suggested by researchers for teen depression is altruism.
The findings of this new study have been published in the Proceedings-of-the-National-Academy-of-Sciences and according to these findings, teenagers who gain pleasure or enjoy the act of carrying out the tasks that may help others are less prone to be affected by depression than those youngsters who derive pleasure by performing selfish tasks.
The study was conducted by Adriana Galvan and some of her colleagues who belong to the California University and it involved completing a questionnaire by 39 teenagers to study and measure depressive symptoms in them. The teens were then asked to perform two tasks and when they carried out the tasks, they were required to undergo a fMRI scan. This was for examining the activities in their ventral striatum, that is the brain’s part linked to the feelings of happiness and pleasure. The first task involved a game in which the teens had to make a choice between earning money to fulfill their own desires and needs and doing so for the sake of their families. The second task involved inflating a balloon that was virtual.
How the study was conducted and its findings
The same teens were asked to take the questionnaire after one year and amazingly, the researchers observed that in those teens whose ventral-striatum activity was high when they earned money for the sake of their families, there was a significant decrease in teen depression symptoms. In the case of teens in whom there was high ventrial-striatum activity when they derived pleasure by helping themselves, they had more tendency or they were more prone to be affected by depression during the course of the year.
Why recognizing teen depression is important
Parents should learn to differentiate between the normal moodiness of their teens and the moodiness caused by depression symptoms. This is very important because if the moodiness lasts continuously for two weeks, parents can construe that their children have been affected by teen depression.
Other symptoms of teen depression
Significant changes in the eating patterns or the appetite of the teens and also visible weight loss or weight gain. Losing interest in the activities they normally involve in. Irritability and behaving in such a manner that shows that they do not believe that there is any meaning in life. Excessively sensitive to rejections and being critical of their own real or imaginary shortcomings. Not performing well in studies. Over-sleeping or not being able to sleep properly and not being able to wake up in the mornings. Lack of energy and enthusiasm. Withdrawing from others and the society in general. Not being able to concentrate. Loss of memory.
If you apprehend that your children have been affected by teen depression, you should immediately fix an appointment with a competent mental-health professional for consultations. If depression in teens is not treated on time, chances of highly unexpected and risky behaviors in the affected teens may increase manifold. Some of the affected teens may take to drinking and a few of them may take to drug addiction also. Parents should understand that if their is a family history, children of those families have more chances of being affected by teen depression.