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Is Family Depression Passed Down to Teens?

Family depression

Depression is a common yet complex mental health disorder that impacts every aspect of a person’s life. It also affects their family and friends in a significant way.

At Imagine Nampa, we understand the far-reaching impacts of depression on individuals and their families. Through our family therapy program in Idaho, we teach teens and their families to understand what depression is and how it impacts their lives. We provide effective treatment strategies to help manage symptoms to improve daily functioning and overall quality of life. Contact us at 888.503.4604 to learn more about our depression treatment program and how we can help your family.

Understanding the Connection Between Depression and Family

Until recently, depression was thought to be caused solely by chemical imbalances in the brain. However, we have learned that depression is likely the cause of a combination of environmental, intrapersonal, biological, and genetic factors.

Depression is known to run in families, but researchers believe no single gene is responsible for depression. Instead, multiple genes likely interact with environmental and psychological factors to contribute to the development of depression. Studies have shown that the family environment can play a significant role in the development of depression. For example, children who grow up in homes with a lot of conflict or criticism are more likely to develop depression than those who do not. While it is often assumed that depression can be passed down from parents to teens, there is no conclusive evidence.

Recognizing Teen Depression

It is sometimes difficult to decipher if a teen is just going through a phase or if they are suffering from depression. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression to get your child the help they need. Some common signs and symptoms of depression in teens include:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Acting out or defiance
  • Changes in school performance
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Isolation or withdrawal
  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Headaches, stomachaches, and muscle aches and pains

If you suspect your teen is struggling with depression, it is best to address it directly, not only with your teen but with the whole family. Research has shown that family attitudes about depression and treatment significantly affect recovery outcomes.

Risk Factors for Family Depression

When any family members have depression, the entire family’s well-being is disrupted. Depression can affect daily routines, create conflict in relationships, and increase stress and anxiety. Misinterpreting symptoms like irritability, fatigue, and withdrawal can contribute to isolation and a lack of necessary support.

Growing up with a parent with depression has weighty consequences for teens’ mental health and overall well-being. Depressed parents tend to be less actively involved with their children. When depressed parents are socially withdrawn, their children have less access to social connections and supportive people outside the immediate family.

Risk factors for family depression can include:

  • Family history and genetics
  • Chronic stress
  • Alcohol or drug use in the home
  • Financial insecurity
  • Poor nutrition or food insecurity
  • Certain personality traits
  • History of trauma
  • Unresolved grief & loss
  • Domestic violence
  • Abuse or neglect

The stigma of mental illness, combined with the pressure to be perfect, often prevents people from acknowledging depression. However, the earlier depression is treated, the better the outcomes for all family members.

Learn More About Depression in Teens and Families at Imagine Nampa

When one family member struggles with depression, all family members are affected. When depression wreaks havoc on a family, family therapy can help everyone heal. Imagine Nampa is here to help. We offer comprehensive mental health services for teens and families in the Boise area. Contact Imagine Nampa today at 888.503.4604 to learn more about how we can help your family heal from depression.