Root Causes of Adolescent Depression

A recent report from the CDC showed that three out of five teen girls shared they experienced persistent feelings of hopelessness in 2021.

While this statistic is staggering, I listen without batting an eye. Why?

I was one of the three.

I believe there are many things contributing to adolescent hopelessness, and while there are differences between the world of today and the world when I was diagnosed, the treatment options haven’t changed. The treatment options available in the 90s are the same being offered today, 30 years later: medication and therapy.

Unfortunately, those limited options are not treating the root of the issue, and in some cases, may make things worse.

I’ve created a list of contributing root causes to my depression, in hopes that it will help someone take a closer look at potential factors that are not being offered through traditional treatment. The information I share is widely studied and should be well-known, yet it is not.

And our teen girls continue to fall through the rabbit hole of darkness.

Common contributors to teen depression:

1. The oral birth control pill. I was prescribed this in 8th grade due to a heavy menstrual flow and anemia. Within a year I experienced debilitating depression, which is not uncommon, according to the research. The pill depletes B6, crucial for creating serotonin, supporting mitochondrial function, the methylation cycle, and maintaining the gaba/glutamate balance (which we need for calm feelings). The pill affects the gut microbiome, increases enhanced intestinal permeability, and because over 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut, this is another risk factor for depression. The pill depletes magnesium, which is needed for the gaba/glutamate balance, among so many other mood-benefiting needs. There are indeed a myriad of nutrient depletions occurring from oral contraceptives. Because the pill depletes the very things needed to counter hormonal issues and premenstrual stress, it is no surprise that a further imbalance occurred in my body, leading to depression symptoms. While for some people this may be a useful tool, ensuring there are enough nutrients available to make up for the lack is crucial.

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