When Loneliness Becomes Depression
Written by WinGate Therapy, in Section Parent Resources
With each passing year, the youth of society struggle more and more. Rates in mental illness and emotional distress continue to rise, leaving present-day health professionals, public officials, and parents with greater problems to solve. What is the first step solving this crisis within individual family units and communities? Education.
Taking action by learning from the council and research of professionals, just as you are doing now, is one of the best ways that you can help your child. With these and other additional resources, you will be more prepared to aid your child or loved one struggling with loneliness and/or depression.
Depression – A Leading Mental Health Crisis
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting an estimated 3.1 million adolescents in 2016. The condition is not to be taken lightly, as it has been shown to cause a great deal of emotional, and potentially physical, harm to victims.
Signs of major depression in teenagers:
- Sudden withdrawal from family and friends
- Heightened sensitivity to criticism
- New engagement in risky behavior
- Sudden, dramatic changes in personality or appearance
- Irrational or bizarre behavior
For more information on signs of depression in men, women, and adults overall, please visit: https://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/guide/symptoms/.
There are a number of recommended treatments for depression, but we will address those at a later time. Here we would like to note one of the many possible triggers of depression – feelings of loneliness.
When Loneliness Becomes Depression
The state of loneliness has been experienced by many people, but does not commonly result in developing depression. Simply defined, loneliness is sadness caused by the perceived lack of friends or company. While comfortably and occasionally spending time alone can be a healthy occasional practice – providing opportunities for greater personal reflection and thinking - loneliness is not. Individuals experiencing prolonged and intense feelings of loneliness often adopt perspectives and behaviors promoting greater social isolation, leading to depression.
When loneliness is being experienced, it is the signal that the psyche craves communication and interaction with other individuals. Spending time with family and friends, and developing positive close relationships, is the fundamental way to combat loneliness. Additionally, self-expression and interpersonal communication must be engaged in. If a lonely person spends time with others, but does not engage, feelings of loneliness will not subside. Given that it is one of the many potential avenues to depression, those experiencing loneliness should not postpone its resolve. Moreover, if your child or a loved one is struggling with loneliness and/or depression, find ways to aid them in expressing themselves – be a confidant.
Seeking professional help is yet another great way to help your child or loved one achieve complete healing. WinGate Wilderness Therapy is a nationally acclaimed program with counselors who understand, and have expertise in, helping youth and young adults with depression. For more information on the program and how it can benefit your loved ones, please visit https://www.wingatewildernesstherapy.com or call 1-800-560-1599.