New data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that adolescent girls are three times as likely to develop depression than adolescent boys. Also, the percentage of girls with teen depression triples between the ages of 12 and 15. This means that parents need to watch closely for signs of depression in their adolescent daughters.
Why are girls affected more often?
It’s been known for some time that stress has the potential to lead to depression. According to Clinical Psychological Science Journal, girls are more vulnerable to stress than boys, making them more vulnerable to developing teen depression.
Also in the study, researchers found that girls have the tendency to think deeply and obsess over more common happenings, such as a family argument, than rarer ones, such as a death in the family. Researchers believe this is because, often, young girls are brought up to have more nurturing and caring behaviors.
What can teen depression lead to?
Teen depression, if left untreated, always has the potential to leak into the adult age and worsen with time. Depression increases the risk of developing other mental issues, such as anxiety, insomnia and many others. It can also lead to a higher danger of physical issues, such as having a stroke, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and becoming obese.
Tips on how to help your daughter with teen depression
A few tips, according to Susan Newman (a social psychologist and parenting expert), on how to help your daughter with teen depression include:
- Stay positive: adolescent girls tend to pick apart every comment and linger on the meaning, so one negative comment toward their self-image could be quite damaging.
- Be open: make sure your daughter knows you’re there to talk without judgement, but don’t be too pushy about it.
- Don’t set your expectations too high: kids tend to know what their parents actually expect of them, even if you think they don’t. Try to keep the pressure to be the best at a minimum, just be supportive.
- Don’t write emotions off as angst: pay attention to behaviors and emotions that your daughter shows. Don’t write off her feelings, even if they seem to be the product of something trivial, such as a small argument with a friend.
If the signs of teen depression persist and your daughter doesn’t seem to be improving, treatment options exist to help. Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for girls, ages 10 to 14. Girls at Asheville Academy struggle with depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD and many other issues. At Asheville Academy, we help girls build the life-habits they need to live healthy and full lives.