Depression is an illness with many reasons and many forms. It is a disorder of someone’s moods or emotions; it is not an attitude that someone can “control” or “snap out of,” but it is treatable with counseling and/or medication.
Depression is a situation that affects approximately 5% of children and teens at any given time. Depression can reason problems such as difficulties in school, difficulties with relationships, and common reduce the enjoyment of life. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, one of the leading reasons of death for teens in the United States. Take the time to educate yourself on this important and difficult subject for the health and happiness of your teen.
A teenager with depression might have some or all of these signs of the illness:
- Feeling tired despite getting enough sleep
- Inability to concentrate
- Thoughts of suicide, talk of suicide, or suicide attempts
- Sad or depressed mood
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in things he or she used to enjoy
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Inability to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Loss of appetite, or enlarged appetite
- Aches and pains that don’t go away, even with treatment
The National Institute of Mental Health states that there are two general forms of depression: major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder:
Major Depressive Disorder, also called major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s capability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once–pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning usually. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, it recurs throughout a person’s life.
Dysthymic Disorder, also called dysthymia, is characterized by long-term (two years or longer) but less severe symptoms that may not disable a person but can stop one from functioning usually or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.
There are thought to be much cause of depression. There are most likely many factors behind who develops depression and who doesn’t, and these factors are no different for teens.
Traumatic Life Event, such as the loss of a loved one or pet, divorce or remarriage- Any event that causes distress or trauma, or even just a major change in lifestyle, can trigger depression.
Medications/Illegal Drugs- Some legal, prescription medications can have depression as a side effect. Certain illegal drugs (street drugs) can also reason depression.
Social Situation/Family Circumstances-Unfortunately, there are teens who live under difficult circumstances. Domestic violence, substance abuse, poverty or other family issues can reason stress and depression in a teen.
Genetics/Biology- It has been found that depression runs in families and that there is a genetic basis for depression. Keep in mind, though, that teens that have depression in their family will not necessarily get the illness, and teens without a history of depression in their family can still get the disorder.
Medical Conditions- Occasionally, depression is a sign of another medical illness, such as hypothyroidism, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or other disorders.