Playing sports can help teens cope with depressive symptoms

Teenagers often appear to be moody, irritated and aggressive. According to experts, a teenager encounters these feelings due to several hormonal and psychological changes, and extended exposure to the world. All these together affect their understanding, which further makes them feel agitated and anxious. In severe cases, it can also lead to depression.

Teenage depression is among the common mental conditions in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 3.1 million people aged 12 to 17 years suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2016. Significantly, the prevalence was higher in females (19.4 percent) compared to males (6.4 percent). Experts believe that a combination of factors are responsible for the rise in teen depression. For example, adolescents can feel worthless and inefficient over their poor school performance, social status with peers or unhealthy relationships with family members. At times, teen depression can be a result of environmental stress.

In the wake of the rising rate of depression amongst teens, mental health specialists have suggested that playing team sports like basketball, volleyball or soccer can help teens deal with their depressive symptoms. In team sports, the participating teens get an opportunity to mingle and form bonds with other players. Also, the victory or success that they experience gives them a sense of achievement and boosts their confidence and social skills, which further helps in reducing the depressive symptoms.

Sports and depression

Research shows that physical exercise, regular morning walk, cycling or swimming can help fight depressive symptoms. A 2014 study also found that sports and mental health share unique camaraderie. According to the study, depression causes changes in the neuro-endocrine secretion of hormones that regulate mood and daily activities. This can further lead to fatigue, apathy and sleep disorders. While these symptoms can be controlled with medications, a similar effect is possible with physical activities like sports, researchers noted.

The study further explained that sports helps overcome the harmful physiological effects produced by the accumulated negative stress (distress), which is one of the leading causes of depression. Also, during the practice of moderate endurance sports, the brain undergoes a positive stress, which activates the production of a complex molecules that produce the sense of well-being and happiness. Moreover, practicing sports also decreases the production of cortisol or the stress hormone, thereby, reducing the risk of developing depression.

Road to recovery

Depression is a serious mental health condition and necessarily needs proper medical intervention. Although sports and exercises are effective techniques to prevent or fight depression, they alone cannot treat the condition. In order to recover completely from the disorder, it is important to seek timely professional treatment. Depression can be treated with medicines, therapies or a combination of both, depending on its severity and duration.

One should seek treatment as soon as he/she starts encountering depressive symptoms to prevent the condition from worsening. Therefore, if you or your loved one is suffering from depression or its symptoms, seek help from the Depression Treatment Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 619-7729 or chat online with our expert for credible information about one of the best treatment centers for depression in your vicinity. Our certified representatives can also help you connect with the finest depression help centers near you. Notably, a patient should maintain treatment, if recommended, even after the symptoms disappear, as this helps avoid a relapse.