Some of the most controversial subjects for sports departments are depression and substance addiction. Because they seem to come together when we are talking about athletes. Mental health is one of the deciding factors in an athlete performance. Multiple disorders can affect their performance, but depression is one of the worst conditions, because it affects both their body and mind. If the majority of people are not affected if they have down moments from time to time, and they do not influence their work, the athletes who experience prolonged periods of sadness are at the risk to lose their career. Studies show that around 20% of young athletes experience depression symptoms. But what is worse, is the fact that they refuse to admit that they are experiencing a condition that influences their performance, and they do not seek help.
What are the signs of depression in athletes?
In order athletes to be diagnosed with depression, it is important to pay attention to several signs. Here are some examples that will help parents and trainers to understand if an athlete they know is at the risk of developing depression:
- They experience low levels of energy
- They state that they are fatigued
- They lost or gained great weight during the last months
- They are depressed
- They no longer find interesting the sport they practice
- They are not able to make decisions
- They often state that they plan to commit suicide, or they have recurrent suicidal ideation
What causes depression in athletes?
There are numerous factors that can cause depression, but when it comes to athletes, there are some specific factors. The athletes who are addicted to consuming certain substances are predisposed to also suffer from depression. In addition, their genetic and psychological make-up can be another of the factors. The social factors are often the main causes that trigger depression in athletes, because they feel pressed to meet certain requirements. Taken together, all these factors can have fatal consequences because if no one notices that an athlete suffers from depression, they can easily commit suicide.
How depression affects athletes?
Their performance is the first one affected in case they suffer from depression. When they feel depressed, their general performance and health are influenced. The athletes who suffer from depression and do not treat it properly can experience injuries. Their concentration is affected by the condition and they do are not able to focus on the tasks they have to complete. Injuries are closely related to depression, because if a successful athlete is injured, and they are not able to perform at the same level they did before, they can be predisposed to depression. Often, the athletes who experience injuries start using substances, if their career and status are taken away for a period of time, or completely.
When a person feels hopeless, they are predisposed to having suicidal thoughts. They not only that will think about it, but they will also share their thought with their loved ones. In case an interaction of factors affect an athlete it is important their loved ones to pay extra attention to their mood swings and mental health.