A new study has revealed that mental health problems like stress can trigger teen depression. Conversely, depression may raise the levels of stress hormones in boys, but in the case of girls, the stress hormones may cause obesity. This means that if depression is treated in time, the stress hormones can get reduced. So, the problem of obesity can be prevented also.
It is a known fact that cortisol affects the mood in people. This hormone is a regulator of several of the body’s metabolic functions and when the stress levels increase, the body releases more of this hormone. When female adolescents are affected by teen depression due to increased stress levels and when cortisol secretion is high, they tend to become obese. But it is not yet clear why increased levels of cortisol get translated into obesity and that too, only in females. Experts opine that this may be due to physiological as well as behavioral changes in girls. According to these experts, these girls may resort to stress eating and in addition to that, there may be increased levels of estrogen also and this is what differentiates the way how girls cope up with anxiety or stress.
How to deal with this problem
The only way to deal with this problem is to treat teen depression on time. This is because these experts are of the firm opinion that stress, depression, increased levels of cortisol and obesity may have strong links. In other words, stress is the most important factor that triggers teen depression and all the other mental as well as physical problems including obesity.
Research for establishing the links
Researchers are trying to establish the biological connections between stress, emotions like anxiety and other clinical disorders because this will help them understand major health problems.
But the studies conducted till now have provided enough data to suggest that increase in levels of cortisol may induce teen depression in male adolescents and may cause obesity in girls.
Role of parents
Parents should understand that stress related mental health problems may cause depression in their teenage boys and these problems may cause obesity in girls. Only if they identify the problem in time, they will be able to take the right type of remedial measures for saving their children from the problems of teen depression or obesity. This means that they have to know more about the problem.
Parents should educate themselves by seeking information from experts or by studying the various books that are available. Internet can provide a lot of information about teen depression and stress. So, parents can browse and study the materials available on the Internet also.
Parents should understand that there are certain extraneous factors that may cause stress in their teens. Peer pressure in schools or colleges may also be a contributing factor. Parents should spend sufficient time with their children so that these teens will have a chance to ventilate their feelings. Though teens may spend more time with their friends or co-students, their love for their parents will be in tact. In fact, they may be looking forward to the company, suggestions, love and affection of their parents. So, parents should make it a point to spend a good amount of time with their children. This may go a long way in reducing their stress and protect them from problems like teen depression.