Posted in Guest Blogs, Mental Health

Depression in teens and the power of beliefs – Guest Post by Denny

Depression in teens seems to be one of the epidemics of our time.

To produce a statistic is quite difficult because depression can manifest itself in many ways. Depression can cause many levels of suffering.

Depressed teenagers may suffer intensely, but they can repress their feelings so well that they aren’t aware of their suffering and present almost no symptoms.

Other depressed teens may be ashamed of their suffering and tell nobody about it.

Others may be told that their suffering is somehow noble and get no treatment for their depression.

Many teenagers learn to live with their suffering and keep it at a reasonable level. Nobody will ever know that they suffer from depression.

These complications make it difficult to define the statistics correctly. One teenager in eight suffering from depression may be a reasonable figure.

Are our genes responsible?

Some research is being done to investigate the genetic origins of depression.

Our brains are chemical machines. Some substances regulate the proper working of the channels that transmit information in our brains.

I don’t like to continue with the description of our brains as machines. This could imply that we are machines as well, and that it’s right to deal with humans as we do with machines. Just give them software to run and they will do what they are supposed to do.

The belief that humans are machines to be programmed with the right software is a negative belief. We have to spare our depressed teens this if they are to get well again.

Unfortunately, this is also a belief that modern production organization has injected into the collective image of the human being. We can still think and identify this idea in our minds and reject it.

Genes can’t explain depression because they can’t explain the complex behaviour and thinking which it involves.

Contrary to what many people still believe, genes don’t determine human behaviour and thinking. The proof is all those people who dramatically change their behaviour, feelings and view of the world over the course of their life. One of those people is writing these words right now.

Drugs, placebos and belief

Pharmaceutical companies have to carry on research to determine if a drug is effective and what its side effects are.

Many studies have been performed to compare one drug to others to see if it beats them in efficacy. These studies reveal a little known fact. There is a drug that performs quite well compared with others. It’s the placebo.

A placebo should not perform well when compared to effective drugs. But depression is a psychological problem, so it should not surprise us if a placebo, which is not supposed to be effective, instead proves useful.

A psychiatrist can just give a depressed teenager a drug, or he can give him a drug plus an implied message that sounds like: “I trust you, you can be happy again!”

This message is more important than the drug. Research has shown that the therapeutic relationship between depressed teens and their therapists is much more important than the drug itself in treating depression.

This happens because beliefs are very powerful in making depressed teenagers able to produce in their brains the substances that will heal them.

A therapist who genuinely believes in a depressed teenager is more ‘effective’ than the drug itself, and can make a placebo work for them.

Later on, depressed teenagers have to change their way of thinking so that their brains can continuously produce healing substances on their own. It’s an art they can perform throughout their lives, and it’s an enjoyable art.

Good treatment includes a change of beliefs

Good treatment for depression should never envisage only using drugs. What depressed teenagers think about themselves, others and the world has to be challenged and restructured.

This requires some time because time is needed to replace old dysfunctional beliefs with new positive ones. Modern culture wants us to seek instant gratification which can’t be achieved in this case.

There is the problem of resistance to changing beliefs. Our beliefs are often thought to be part of our identity. If we change our beliefs, we may feel as if we are about to lose something essential.

Depressed teens have to overcome this resistance to changing their thinking. They can do this by trusting their inner desire for happiness and health.

Where are negative beliefs from?

The main cause of depression in teenagers is negative beliefs. Where are they from? Why are they causing so much depression?

Negative beliefs about who we are and what we can do have cultural and historical origins and tend to perpetuate themselves if left unchallenged.

They have been around for a long time. Why is it getting worse now?

Our modern times see one more big negative belief join the old ones.

It’s the belief that we are supposed to become well-functioning cogs in the production-and-consumption machine and like it in addition. A very negative belief.

Because of this belief, many of us endure a meaningless life and repress our inner desire for a meaningful one.

Teenagers can develop depression if they take these beliefs very seriously. They have to get rid of all of them in order for them to be happy.

Guest post by Denny Dew. Visit his site to learn more about depression in teenagers and its causes, symptoms and treatments. You will find more examples of negative beliefs that can cause depression.




Self-published author whose first book Coffee Break Companion, a collection of short stories and poems is now available on Amazon. S.L.Grigg lives in Bromsgrove with her family. Working in the NHS and enjoying reading, Pilates and travel, amongst other things when she isn't too busy writing.

5 thoughts on “Depression in teens and the power of beliefs – Guest Post by Denny

  1. Thanks – this is very timely for for me and puts a lot of things in perspective! I’m not sure if we didn’t have the same problems though, they might just be amplified by “reality” TV and stuff?


    1. I think TV especially reality TV and the media certainly have a lot to answer for in amplifying things, both negatively and less often positively.


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