Depression is the common cold of mental disorders — most people will be affected by depression in their lives either directly or indirectly, through a friend or family member. Confusion about depression is commonplace, e.g., with regard to what depression exactly is and what makes it different from just feeling down.
There is also confusion surrounding the many types of depression that people experience — unipolar depression, biological depression, manic depression, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, etc. There have been so many terms used to describe this set of feelings we’ve all felt at one time or another in our lives, it may be difficult to understand the difference between just being blue and having clinical depression.
Depression is characterized by a number of common symptoms. These include a persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood, and feelings of hopelessness or pessimism that lasts nearly every day, for weeks on end. A person who is depressed also often has feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness. They no longer take interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed; this may include things like going out with friends or even sex. Insomnia, early-morning awakening, and oversleeping are all common.
Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain may be symptoms of depression in some people. Many others experience decreased energy, fatigue, and a constant feeling of being “slowed down.” Thoughts of death or suicide are not uncommon in those suffering from severe depression. Restlessness and irritability among those who have depression is common. A person who is depressed also has difficulty concentrating, remembering, and trouble making decisions. And sometimes, persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to traditional treatments — such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain — may be signs of a depressive illness.
Do I Have Just The Blues… Or Something More?
Feeling down or feeling like you’ve got the blues is pretty common in today’s fast-paced society. People are more stressed than ever, working longer hours than ever, for less pay than ever. It is therefore natural to not feel 100% some days. That’s completely normal.
Depression can be a gradual withdrawal from your active life.
What differentiates occasionally feeling down for a few days from depression is the severity of the symptoms listed above, and how long you’ve had the symptoms. Typically, for most depressive disorders, you need to have felt some of those symptoms for longer than two weeks. They also need to cause you a fair amount of distress in your life, and interfere with your ability to carry on your normal daily routine.
Depression is a severe disorder, and one that can often go undetected in some people’s lives because it can creep up on you. Depression doesn’t need to strike all at once; it can be a gradual and nearly unnoticeable withdrawal from your active life and enjoyment of living. Or it can be caused by a clear event, such as the breakup of a long-term relationship, a divorce, family problems, etc. Finding and understanding the causes of depression isn’t nearly as important as getting appropriate and effective treatment for it.
Grief after the death or loss of a loved one is common and not considered depression in the usual sense. Teenagers going through the usual mood swings common to that age usually don’t experience clinical depression either. Depression usually strikes adults, and twice as many women as men. It is theorized that men express their depressive feelings in more external ways that often don’t get diagnosed as depression. For example, men may spend more time or energy focused on an activity to the exclusion of all other activities, or may have difficulty controlling outbursts of rage or anger. These types of reactions can be symptoms of depression.
Throughout the nation and our world people are suffering from this disease. Depression effects people of both genders, all ages, and any background. People once believed that teens never went through any form of severe depression. Some still believe this to be true, but if it were why are teens homicidal and suicidal? This report should give support for the fact that a teen’s depression deserves attention, not the shrug of the shoulders or the turn of a back.
Depression is defined as the point or points is ones lifetime when they are mentally unstable and the emotional state marked by sadness, discouragement, and loss that can occur during the teenage years. Depression causes changes in behavior, thinking and especially changes in ones everyday life. “Depression amongst teens generally starts when a child hits puberty, but could possibly begin the day they were born if chemically inbalanced (heredity).” Dr. David Kalkstein, psychiatrist at Penn Foundation. Depression can effect anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Teens, children, and adults are all effected, some even have the same problems in common, the causes too. Depression is experienced mostly by teens even though it is mistakenly classified as an “adult illness”. “Twenty percent of high school students are deeply unhappy or have some kind of psychiatric problem.” The causes for depression in teens are sometimes more harsh than the causes in adults. In a teen’s lifetime they have to face many problems and sometimes they have to face these problems more than once. Teens have to deal with peer pressure problems at school, problems at home, the deaths of loved ones, and if they are already using drugs this could also be a cause. Many teens also have to deal with the point in their life when they wonder if they are attractive to other people, of the opposite sex. If they do believe that they are unattractive they will most likely feel as though they have failed at something. Then they will act as if they do not care anymore, then the uncaring attitude increases until they no longer care about much at all. Depression also comes after a teenager is trying to learn about himself or herself and understand their body, and their emotions towards others.
Sometimes these emotions have to deal with homosexuality and finding out whether or not they like people of the same gender. To many people the idea of homosexuality is disgusting and most people know how others feel about it, so when someone who thinks that he or she is gay, they feel out of place, especially if their family, friends, and loved ones are homophobic. Another cause of depression may be the Acne drug, Accutane. There was a study on this drug. Researchers have tested Accutane on one person and this person used it for a few months, then after a while signs of depression began to appear. When the drug had stopped being used by the person, the signs of the depression cleared. Another cause of depression is said to be smoking, and that most depressed teenager’s who are in fact depressed have been smoking. “Teens who smoked were at an increases risk of depression at a 73% higher rate than other teens.” Sometimes teens may be depressed and it will be easy for people to notice, this is not always the case. In every teen’s life, at some point, they are on a roller coaster ride, for this reason it is hard for anyone, even the parents, to distinguish depression from just a plain bad day. This is why it is important for parents to know what to look for, otherwise something bad may happen. One sign to watch for is their grades in school, if you have to, go around and meet with the teachers to see how they are doing in classes and how they are acting when you are not around. As some teens get depressed they sometimes begin not to care for their grades and may not try too hard to keep up in classes. Teens also may begin to isolate themselves from friends and family and only hang around in their room by themselves or try and try to get moments for themselves. If someone’s depressed their sleeping patterns may change, either they’ll sleep all the time, or not at all. They may also act out more, either for the attention, hoping someone will notice their needs or just to irritate others. If you’re depressed you’re often more irritable yourself, you may start to feel guilty but may have no reason to, you may make rash decisions and go through with things without thinking of the outcome. Lastly, you may make the most devastating decision of threatening suicide, or even worse, going through with it.
“Most children suffering from depression don’t say they’re sad. They don’t even appear gloomy,” says child psychiatrist Paramjit Kaur Joshi, M.D. of Johns Hopkins. “Instead, they’re often extremely irritable.” Depression has an effect on a lot of people, most of all the people who care. Depression causes stress on everyone, who is involved with the depressed person, they may try to help but usually the person who is depressed believes that no one cares for them in them and will basically tell everyone and anyone to “take a hike”. Depression in a teen’s life may make the parents feel as if it’s entirely their fault but it’s not. Sometimes which is basically most of the time the effects of depression will take a very drastic turn for the worse. In saying this, I am speaking of suicide.
In some cases teens are able to deal with what they are going through and get the help they need, while others feel there’s not use. Some teens also feel as if they are the cause for everything that has been going wrong all around them, and think that by killing themselves the world would be a better place for everyone. In most cases some parents know, or have an idea, that their child may be suicidal, but usually the topic doesn’t arise. This is because parents believe that if they do talk to their teens about suicide they will get ideas and attempt it to escape any problems. The parents are wrong in doing this because if the teen knows that someone cares they may feel better about everything that has been happening. This way if they are talked to they will be able to express their feelings and maybe get the help that they need and deserve. Suicide occurs when someone has unclear thoughts and they mix with their depression resulting in a deadly outcome. Suicide is the leading killer in the United States among people ages 10-24 and it is the second largest killer for teens ages 15-19, with accidents being the first. Teen suicides are attempted by both male and female. Teen boys are five times more likely to commit suicide over girls, but the girls are more likely to attempt suicide. This is because boys tend to find more violent and successful ways.
Firearms are also used in 50% of all the suicide cases, and the numbers are also increasing. In 1990 alone 12,000 deaths due to suicide were caused by the use of guns. In these 12,000 deaths 2,000 of them were teens. If you are able to steer away from suicide, treatment is key. There are three ways that I know of to help survive depression. The better ways include family members and close loved ones because you know that they really care. Antidepressants are drugs that alter the chemicals in your body to a neutral state, which helps with depression, but sometimes this is not the way to go since people have been known to get a little too addicted. Psychotherapy is one on one sessions with a psychiatrist who may be able to see why you were depressed and help to make you understand yourself and why you feel the ways that you do. The best way to go is Help Groups because this way you are around people that you know have gone through the same kind of thing and will understand you better. But also the reason that this is so good is because you are allowed to bring family and friends so that you will be able to go through it with people who care for you and whom you care about. Everywhere you go, you hear people saying that the children are the future. If these children and teens are depressed now, how will it be in 20 years when they have high ranking jobs which influence everyone so much? They may still be depressed if no one reached out for them and their needs. Don’t forget that they will be paying your social security. Somehow you will have to repay them for that, listening and helping them with their problems now will do just that. As you always hear people say, “It’ll make the world a better place.” The sooner that these teens and children are helped the better. “In this century each generation has experienced major depressions at earlier ages, and the next generations have even higher risks.”
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