Posted on August 23 2017
Understanding Depression In Sports
Society tends to perceive athletes of strong people who have it all together. Often times, that isn't the case. Physical strength does not always come with mental strength. Mental illness in athletes is something that is swept under the rug. Young athletes don't speak up about it or seek help because they are ashamed. It's time to realize that depression is a problem for athletes that needs to be properly addressed.
Why Athletes Get Depressed
Depression is a mental disorder that can affect just about anybody for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's simply genetics. There is no concrete set of causes of depression in athletes that is true across the board, but there are a few unique reasons why athletes can develop depression. Those include:
- Team expectations
- High pressure events
- Game losses
It's important to understand specifically why these problems can lead to depression.
The sports environment is often not the most calming, reassuring, and comforting place. It can be full of anxiety, stress, pressure, and high expectations from all sides. Athletes are also seen as the most mentally and physically tough people. Physical injuries tend to be understood and expected, but mental health problems are stigmatized. High-pressure environments and social expectations can take a toll on an athlete's mental health.
Athletes base a lot of their self worth on their performances. When athletes experience setbacks, this can sometimes cause them to develop depression. This is known as post-competition depression. Athletes dedicate years preparing for certain goals, such as a college career or professional sports. Once they reach their goal after their life has been dominated by training, they may experience depression due to having a routine that doesn't focus completely on the sport.
It's important for coaches, parents, and athletes themselves to recognize the symptoms of depression. If you or someone on your team is experiencing the following symptoms, they may be struggling with depression:
- Emotional withdrawal from teammates
- Frequent crying
- Mood swings
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling anxious
- Lack of concentration
If any athlete experiences these kinds of symptoms, it is important for him or her to contact his or her doctor as soon as possible.
Prioritizing Education and Treatment
Educating coaches, athletes, parents, and any athletic staff members about symptoms of depression helps to identify when an athlete is struggling. Allocating time and money to mental health education and treatment is crucial in prevention and treatment efforts. Athletes suffering from depression should be advised to contact their doctor. Common treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants. Changing negative thoughts and combating chemical imbalances with therapy and medication can alleviate depression and help athletes cope.
Here at HKYSOX we are all about bringing important issues to the forefront. Mental health is stigmatized far too often in general, let alone when experienced by athletes. We want all athletes to overcome their obstacles, whether physical or mental. Read through our collection of inspirational quotes to be reminded that challenges can be overcome and you can turn any setback into a success.