Depression in teens: Why is it on the increase?
Several years ago, depression in teens was virtually unheard of. Now, however, it is within teens and young people that depression is increasing at the highest rate.
There have been changes within society, and undiagnosed and untreated psychological problems are becoming more and more common.
Most human activities are becoming alienating to the individual. Both production and consumption are diverging away from being truly human acts, and rather are becoming increasingly regulated by habits which have little human significance at all.
Two examples of alienation
I only have the space to discuss a couple of examples here.
On the production side, an example of alienation is the loss of authenticity in relationships formed within working environments. These days, one can buy a book about how to talk to employees, but do we really need to be told how to talk to a fellow human being? Simply, no we don’t.
Nevertheless, when a manager talks to an employee, the human relationship is lost. Rather than a conversation and relationship being formed between two human beings, it takes place between two abstractions. This is why there becomes a necessity for a book to assist us in accomplishing such natural acts, as communication between two human beings.
On the consumption side, the act of buying has lost almost all of its human qualities. It’s no longer a meaningful, human, or productive experience. Needs are artificially created and induced, and the reasons for purchase are far removed from a genuine and intelligent use of an object.
This type of consumption is a psychological problem because it alienates people from their true humanity, and impacts negatively on their dignity as human beings.
Alienation is a SPD
Let me recall the idea of SPD. An SPD, Social Patterned Defect, is a psychological problem which produces suffering and limits our level of contentment. It’s also a problem that society fails to recognize as such, despite it being widespread. Alienation is a psychological problem that lowers our self-esteem, and is thus an example of an SPD.
It contributes to the production of fear, which is the main ingredient of all personality disorders. This fear is the reaction to a less-than-human way of living, which is seen as inevitable. This fear can ultimately transform itself into depression.
Depression in teens can originate from the conflict between a natural craving for a full human existence, and the pressure to conform to the less-than-human way of living imposed on us by society. This conflict is a source of self-doubt and fear.
The problem is in the required conformity
An SPD, such as alienation, will have no impact on us or our children, as long as we are fully aware of it, and successfully identify it as a psychological problem. If we can begin to see it as a problem that society wants to present to us as a necessity, then society will no longer have the power to make us suffer from its own shortcomings.
When we develop our own ability to diagnose psychological problems, the pressure for conformity loses power and we begin to enjoy the freedom to experiment with a more human way of living. Since teenagers and children in general, are yet to be influenced by the ills of society, or conditioned to their demands, they can be a great asset in helping to shape a more human society. We have got to give them the attention that they deserve.
Conflict at Home
Conflict between parents and teenagers is one possible cause of depression in teens. The alienation we experience in our working and social environment can also influence our home lives. It is possible that we unconsciously manipulate our children as we are manipulated by society. This can in turn damage our human relationship with them.
True education would help children to fully express their potential in a human way. They need to be liberated to express their humanity, in a personal manner, in order for them to bring humanity to a society in dire need of it.
This process requires us to have courage and put faith into our children. Any human endeavour requires faith in the human power required to accomplish it, and this sort of endeavour requires it in abundance.
I mentioned above that the act of consumption has lost its human qualities. Is controlling and regulating an individual’s purchasing a solution? Should we question any purchase made by our teenagers, in order to make it compliant with our desired model?
I’m afraid it’s not so simple. No behaviour enforcement technique has ever succeeded in solving a psychological problem. It has failed to do so because human beings aren’t only behaviour. Robots are only behaviour. Behaviour enforcement could be a solution for them but humans are not only behaviour. They are also feelings, thoughts, choices, creativity, reasoning and dreams.
The very idea that a psychological problem can be solved by enforcing a behaviour, is it itself a psychological problem because it doesn’t take in account the full range of human powers and characteristics.
Depression in teens will not be solved by behaviour enforcement.
Where to go now?
- Back to the home page, Depression teens: a scary problem with an easy solution.
- From Depression in teens: what causes depression in teenagers to Depression with teenagers: reasons for teenage depression. I’ll talk about the poisonous pedagogy based on punishments and rewards.