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Stress, Depression & Anxiety

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Added April 23, 2014

Teenage Depression

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What is teenage depression?

Everybody feels bummed out now and then. We all have our "blue moods," like maybe right before our periods; or feel disappointed from not getting on a sports team or being dumped. Feeling sad in cases like this is appropriate and is not teenage depression.


Clinical teenage depression is a whole other thing. It's not just about being sad or disappointed about some event in our lives. It's a serious, even life-threatening, illness that needs medical attention. The good news is that most depressed people respond really well to the new medications and therapies available.


If you think your sadness goes beyond feeling bummed out, or you know someone who may be depressed, read on about teenage depression. If the symptoms describe you, then don't wait another minute to get help.


What are the symptoms of teenage depression?

If you have clinical teenage depression, you would have at least 5 of these symptoms (including the first two) for at least 2 weeks

  • Feel depressed all the time
  • Lose interest in things you used to like
  • Have a big change in your appetite
  • Sleep a lot or not much at all
  • Feel anxious or high energy all the time, or the opposite (have really low energy almost everyday)
  • Feel tired and have no energy
  • Feel bad about yourself (low self-worth/low self-esteem)
  • Feel confused; have trouble making decisions
  • Think about death or suicide


What causes teenage depression?

We react to things in life (like a disappointment) with our whole selvesour brains and emotions. Chemicals in the brain and hormones can get off balance. Sometimes this imbalance happens because we have an inherited tendency for it (it's in our genes). Sometimes stress triggers it. Teenage depression usually affects us emotionally and physically. Women especially tend to get physical symptoms when they are depressed.


Who gets teenage depression?

Depression is two or even three times more common in women than in men. Our hormones may be a reason for this. We know that premenstrual moods are related to hormones. Teenage depression also occurs. Six percent of 917 year-olds have teenage depression. In 1997, suicide was the third-leading cause of death in 1025 year-olds.


As a teen, maybe you aren't great at expressing your feelings. Teens usually can't, won't or don't tell others how bad they feel, so they put off getting help. Also, your parents or teachers might just think you're being moody and not take it seriously, even though it might be teenage depression.


There are some things you should look for in yourself if you think you have teenage depression. You might: 

  • Have frequent, weird physical aches and pains
  • Miss school or see your grades drop
  • Try to run away or talk about running away
  • Have outbursts of crying or shouting
  • Feel really bored most of the time
  • Have much less interest in being with friends
  • Use alcohol or drug
  • Feel really sensitive to rejection or failure
  • Feel irritable, angry or hostile
  • Have some reckless behavior (before driving wildly)
  • Have a hard time with relationships


Don't "Tough teenage depression out."

If you thought you had a broken arm, would you wait for it to get better on its own? If you had a really bad respiratory infection, would you think you were a bad person? The point is: Teenage depression is an illness. It's not your fault if you have depression. Treat it like any other medical condition and get the help you need.


Be honest with yourself. If you think you have some of these symptoms and you can't snap out of it, don't suffer and tough it out. Talk to your parents or another trusted adultteacher, school counselor, someone at your church or temple. (There are also some numbers for you to call at the end of this article.)


By the way, a symptom of depression is hopelessness. So if you're reading this thinking "nobody can help me," you already have one symptom.


How is it treated?

We now know a lot more about depression, and many new treatments are available. All of this PR (including all the bad jokes about Prozac) has actually helped to remove the stigma from taking medication for mental health problems.


If you or someone you know is having a problem with teenage depression, contact these agencies: The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (800) 442-4673. Referrals, outreach for teens program. National Alliance on Mental Illness (800) 950-NAMI. For people with mental illness and their families.

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comments so far
Posted September 10, 2013
I don't really know if I have depression or not. I get pretty sad quite a bit, but I usually have a reason. For example, my mom passed away, my brother and dad ignore me a lot, my "best friend" doesn't talk to me much anymore, just to name a few. I don't really know if I'm just wimpy or depressed...
Posted March 05, 2013
Guys, depression isn't forever. It may feel like you will never be happy again but you will. I tell my self every day "Things get better. I don't know when and I don't know how, but they will." Just reach out. More than likely, someone you know is feeling the same way as you. Just get help. You are all beautiful and so important. This world wouldn't be the same without each and every one of you. If you feel like you just can't take it, call this number 1-800-784-2433. Its the suicide hotline. You can only get better if you want to get better. I love you all!
Posted August 04, 2012
I have something called an anxiety and depression disorder. I was diagnosed last year. My mom and my brother have it. I take a medication and I feel a lot better. This year I am actually looking forward to going back to school. ;)
Posted February 17, 2013
i'm depressed i dont like hanging out with my friends my grades are dropping dont have intrest cry all the time and thought abot running away and suiced or cutting myself alot and non of my friends talk to me but i tell myself life goes on things get better
Posted December 15, 2012
I am pretty sure I have some kind of anxiety disorder. I might even have a "severe case". That means I get so anxious and worried about a stupid thing and all of that stress makes me think I want to kill myself. That happens sometimes. (<--Depression)
Posted August 02, 2012
@katiebug58 exactly you would think that because they were teenagers that they would understand, but they don't. my parents don't want to listen to even me anymore. after a while, everythings just empty and nobody understands or cares.
Posted July 30, 2012
if i told my parents that i think i have depression, they would probably tell me im just being dramatic or laugh at me for even saying it... thats what my sister did... but i kinda blame them for this anyway.. they are always pressuring me and now im so stressed i struggle to sleep at night.. because of them i feel alone and empty like no one even really cares...
Posted June 21, 2012
i have some of the one of the relay meetings i went to i just started crying silently in my little corner and i didn't know why,and a couple of times at school i started crying but i knew the reason for it my granddad died in november a couple days before i went to Beta convention and in january my grandma died and started crying at lunch one day,some pll thought it was just something a kid said to me and the next day i started crying in science class.and i tought about ending my life
Posted July 15, 2012
I may have depression my mom says she's going to find me a counselor but it's taking so long and I just want to get better
Posted June 30, 2012
I just wanted to encourage anyone out there who's feeling depressed to seek counseling. It's really difficult at first, but in the end things will be better. This previous year I was severely depressed and experimented with forms of self harm. However, I went to one of my school counselor, who referred me to a therapist. This easily was one of the best things that could have happened to me, changing my life in the process. I was diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and bipolar disorder. These mental disorders where what was keeping me from leading a normal life. I was put on two different medications, which have totally changed my outlook on life. I went from being a shy, suicidal, misunderstood girl to a vibrant, optimistic one. Sure, I still have my rough days, but without the counseling I received, I'm not sure if I'd still be here today. Recovery is a long road, but with the proper support and guidance, it's possible to get better.
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