Abstract Teenage depression is a very serious issue in our world today. Many adolescents are unaware of what causes depression, how to recognize it, and how it can be treated. Teenage Depression No one cares. Does anyone notice me? I don't fit in. Here I sit alone again! What will I do with my life? These are thoughts that go through every adolescents mind.
But for some adolescents these thoughts don't go away with time and depression may set in. For many adolescents they do not understand what depression is, who is affected most commonly by it, what some signs that we may use to recognize it, and how we can help those who do suffer. The rates of teenage depression are rising higher and higher every year. "Adolescents are found to be especially vulnerable to this particular disease because of the challenges and unsteadiness of self which happen to be characteristic of that period, especially in the early stages" (Tice, 2000) Approximately five percent, or three million fourteen to eighteen year olds, are diagnosed as clinically depressed every year.
Depression is a miscommunication the brain has while dealing with stress (Anonymous, 2003). This is caused by a chemical imbalance that can be cured with medication. Most people associate adolescent depression with prolonged sadness and withdrawal from all activity. Although true for some individuals it may go much deeper and could lead to suicide, the second most common cause of death for adolescents thirteen to nineteen (Monahan, 1993).
There are no set stereotypes of adolescents who are more commonly susceptible to depression. There are many factors that can cause depression for teenagers. Some of the environmental factors may include loss of a friendship or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, low self esteem, moving from where they grew up, the death of a family member or friend, or an unsuccessful attempt at something that is very important to them (Anonymous, 2003). There are also biological factors that influence depression. Some research has shown that depression may be genetic. Adolescents are more at risk for depression if they have a mother, father, sister, or brother who also suffer from depression (Anonymous, 2003).
Teenagers who suffer from serious medical conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, or visual and auditory impairments have two to three times the chance of forming some sort of depression. Those who are exposed to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse are also at a higher risk for becoming depressed (Lytle, 1994). Very few adolescents will admit when they are depressed, but friends and family members can watch for some warning signs to become aware of their loved ones depression. Some of the signs include problems sleeping, too much sleep, loss of appetite, overeating, the feeling of emptiness, excessive crying, loss of concentration, loss of energy, thoughts of suicide, irritability, withdrawal, sudden use of drugs or alcohol, drug or alcohol abuse, cutting classes or work, or grades begin to fall.
If someone has just one or two of these signs it doesn't mean that they are depressed but if you see three or more them it is something that you may want to take a closer look at (Monahan, 1993) (Lytle, 1994). Depression is not something that is usually gone easily without treatment. The most common treatments are antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy. Nearly seventy percent of adolescents who take them react to antidepressant drugs.
If taken consistently for the time prescribed by the health care professional they will aid in getting through a time of depression (Cohen, 2001). Another form of treatment is psychotherapy or counseling. The advantage of psychotherapy is one does not have to tolerate the side effects and they are less likely to have a relapse. In some cases the use of both antidepressants and psychotherapy are used to help adolescents overcome their depression. These treatments will not cure depression but they will aid in making the time that it runs its course not as traumatic for the individual (Cohen, 2001). Depression is something that everyone in the world will come in contact with at some point in his or her life.
Everyone goes through times of having "the blues" but when it goes beyond "the blues" we need to know how to help. By knowing the signs and how to help those who suffer more severely you could not only help a friend or family member in need but you could also save their life. References Anonymous. (2003).
Young & the lonely. Science World. Retrieved April 18, 2003 from the World Wide Web: proquest. com Cohen, D. (2001). Depression.
[CD-ROM]. Encarta. Redmond: Microsoft Lytle, V. (1994). The dark clouds of depression. NEA Today.
Retrieved April 28, 2003 from the World Wide Web: proquest. com Monahan, J. (1993). True stories dealing with depression.
Teen Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2003 from the World Wide Web: infotrac. com Tice, T. (2000). Teen depression. The Education Digest.
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