Back to school depression (Is it real?)

In this blog, we will navigate our way to understand how to deal with back to school depression. Prior to that, we will help you understand, if back to school depression is real or not and what are the symptoms of back to school depression that parents can notice. 

Is back to school depression real? 

Yes, back to school depression is a normal and real phenomenon. Depression is a very common mental disorder in both adults as well as in teens. Depression around the time when teens get back to school is also a very common occurrence. 

Summer is the best time in a teen’s life. During these months, they happen to enjoy the to the utmost. They live a less structured life. They sleep late, wake up as per their wish, and also live a life full of leisure and minimal stress. As soon as school begins, they have to get back to their routine. This can certainly induce a lot of stress in the teen. The transition from a relaxed summer to a hectic school year can be very difficult. 

Adolescence in itself is a difficult phase. Teens are trying to catch up with the changes happening inside the body. Given this phase, it makes it even more challenging for them to face the changes in their outside world. The hormonal imbalance causes a great number of emotions that they find difficult to deal with. 

We know that most humans are susceptible to depression. This means that depression can happen to anyone and everyone irrespective of their age, gender, or race. However, depression does not have one definite reason. It can happen because of various reasons. Going back to school after your summer vacation is one of them. Any event that causes extreme stress and anxiety in a human, can be followed by depression, if not taken care of it well in advance. 

Warning signs to look out for parents 

In order for you to avoid depression to worsen, it is important that you realize you are going through something. In any case, you feel that your child is facing with back to school depression, you have to be completely sure about it, before bringing it up to them. In order to do so, a parent needs to aware of the warning signs of the condition and how they will manifest in their child’s behavior. 

Here are a few warning signs that a parent must look out for if you feel that your child is facing back-to-school depression. 

  • A sudden drop in grades
  • Change in sleep patterns or the desire to be alone
  • Lack of focus or forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Self-harm or change in hygiene
  • Giving items away
  • Suicidal thoughts or increased mentions of death
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Negative self talk 
  • Alcohol and other substance abuse 

Keep an eye out on your child to see if any of these signs happen to exist. If they do, for at least more than two weeks, you need to worried about your child. Any symptoms of depression need to persist for more than two weeks before it can be diagnosed. 

How to deal with back to school depression 

Below is a list of 7 things you can do to deal with back to school depression

  • Reduce the stress 
  • Create a routine 
  • Get help 
  • Create a holistic approach 
  • Learn about the disorder 
  • Set a realistic expectation 
  • Identify your coping skills

It is quite often that one may deal with back to school depression. In any case, you cannot avoid the situation altogether, you need to deal with it. This part of the blog gives you 7 ways you can deal with it. In addition, parents can also learn from these tips and make the life of their children better and easy. 

It is always in our hands how we take a new situation. Do we stress about it? Or do we deal with it in apateince. As individuals and with parents dealing with back to school depression can be made easier. Here is how: 

Reduce the stress 

One of the main reasons for back to school depression is the stress that comes with it. When a child is going back to school, from the time of their leisure, they are suddenly loaded with a strict routine, things to do, assignments, homework, etc. this can cause stress and anxiety, which later may manifest as depression. In order o avoid this it is important that you take things slow and reduce your stress. Maybe leave an extra class, or try time management. Having reduced stress will also help you cope with the new timetable. Other ways of stress management include, practice of relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga. 

Create routine 

What hots the most is the fact that you have to go from no routine to a very strict and mundane schedule. Once you go back to school, you have to wake up early every day, go to school, come back home, finish with your homework, eat dinner, and go back to sleep. On the other hand, when there is no school, you spent most of your time doing nothing or chilling with your friends. Therefore, it is important that when you are home, you make a schedule for yourself, so it becomes easier for you to adapt to the school’s routine, it does not have to be a strict one, though. Just make sure that you do not go from a complete leisure life to a life filled with work 

Get help 

If you feel that you are facing back to school depression, the first thing you can do is go talk to your parents. Tell them what you are dealing with. Try to explain to them how difficult it is for you to go back to school. Ask them to take you to a mental health professional. A therapist or counselor can help you with your problems. They can help you with reducing your stress and dealing with depression. If you have a school counselor, go to them. Do not be ashamed of the fact that you have to go to a counselor. Many go to them probably with a similar problem like yours. Talking about your feelings can certainly help you 

Create a holistic approach 

Life isn’t only about school and homework. This is to be understood by both parents and children. It is important that a child is exposed to a holistic environment. By holistic environment, we mean that all the aspects of their lives are taken care of. It is vital for a teen to go out with friends and socialize, may be also enrolled in a class of their interest apart from the educational ones. They can go to a dance class, or learn how to play the violin. This will give them some break from school-related activities and also form a better and holistic personality. By focusing on other things, apart from school, a great amount of stress is reduced. 

Learn about the disorder 

When we face any sort of difficulty, the first thing we need to do is learn about the problem. Once you learn about what you are facing, it becomes easy for you to deal with it. As parents, you need to sit your kid down and explain to them what depression is and how it can be manifested. Instead of making them feel weak about it, give them the power and courage to deal with it. This way, you can also show some compassion. 

As teens themselves, remember the internet is not used for recreational purposes. Look for relevant information and learn about what is happening to you. By doing so you will come to a realization that you are not alone in this world who is facing a mental disorder. There are plenty of people like you. Everyone you know may also be dealing with a similar feeling. All you need to do is talk about it. Do not let yourself believe that the feeling of depression is your enemy. 

Set a realistic expectation 

Once school begins, both parents and students happen to set certain goals for the teen’s life. This is no doubt a good thing. However, these goals need to be realistic and in the capacity of your teen to achieve. Both in terms of education and sports, school-going students are pressurized o achieve the maximum by parents and teachers. This pressure not only induces stress but when they fail, it also causes depression

Therefore, it is important to set goals, but goals that you know you can achieve. It is okay to not get straight A’s. not everyone is good at studying. This does not mean that you are a loser. You just need to find something that is more you, that you are interested in. 

Identify your coping skills

How we cope through the beginning of the depression or the stress that later manifests into depression says a lot about how you handle things. It is important that once you realize you are stressed you use the right coping mechanism. Individuals who ignore the stress, or push it back, are happy for a temporary amount of time but do face consequences later. Therefore pay attention to your coping skills, and improve them if needed. Engage in positive coping skills to help yourself deal with back to school depression. Some positive coping skills include 

  • Catharsis 
  • Mediation 
  • Crying 
  • Relaxation techniques 
  • Stay healthy 
  • Time management and more

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Conclusion 

In this blog, we have navigated our way to understand how to deal with back to school depression. Prior to that, we have helped you understand, if back to school depression is real or not and what are the symptoms of back to school depression that parents can notice. 

FAQs: Back to school depression

Is school the leading cause of depression?

Research shows that teens and young adults are prone to depression. Therefore, school years are certainly a critical point of time in one’s life. Not only does a person become depressed due to school in those years, but also one’s school experience can further lead to depression in adulthood. In addition, depression also interferes with one’s school experience.            

Can you inherit depression?

The major cause of depression is heredity. Research has shown that if anyone in your close family deals with depression, you may also have those genes. However, it is not the gene alone that plays a role. For depression to actually come up, a traumatic event or an event of stress needs to be preceded. Your social surrounding, as well as your psychological make-up plays an equivalent role. 

What gene causes depression?

The serotonin transporter gene and genes involved in the serotonergic system are candidate genes for susceptibility to depression given that many antidepressant medications act on these systems. Several studies have implicated the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) in MDD [17–19]

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

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