Teenage Depression (as well as all types of depression) is an illness. It is as real as diabetes or cancer or heart disease. The person who is depressed is not weak or a failure. They are a person just like everyone else, only with a certain health condition that a lot of other people share.
It is feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despair and loneliness. It interferes with a person’s ability to function.
Depression can be a short term human emotion that does not last and does not hinder one’s ability to do daily activities. When it does not go away for any length of time or when the person can’t shake the feelings of being depressed, it becomes a health condition that needs immediate attention and treatment.
Symptoms of Teenage Depression
Seek help immediately if one or more of these signs of depression are in your child, your friend or yourself:
Frequent sadness or crying and feelings of hopelessness in their efforts or in themselves. They may show this through writing morbid stories or poems, wearing black clothing or listening to music that talks of not believing in values or religion or existence.
No interest in previously enjoyed activities, persistent boredom and low energy. If they drop out of clubs and sports and start to miss classes, school or their grades drop way down.
Social isolation and poor communication. They stop spending time with family and friends and believe no one cares about them anyway.
Low self esteem and extra sensitive to rejection and failure. They feel as if they or whatever they do is not good enough. They take every rejection personally and feel as if it doesn’t matter if they are here or not.
Poor concentration and change in eating and sleeping habits. Staying up all night, sleeping during the day, not getting up for school or work, eating too much or too little, and not being able to follow a conversation or even follow along when watching tv.
Increased hostility and anger and/or talks of running away from home. These are usually cries for help.
The anger can be a way of rejecting family and friends before they can reject them.
Alcohol, drug abuse and self injury.This can either be a way to feel better or a way to block their reality. The self injury shows emotional pain and low self esteem.
Depression requires help from family, friends and professionals. Consult your physician and counselor to see if there is a need for medication and what kind would be the best.
Be very alert to the side effects of these medications. Some are thought to cause added depressed feelings and also suicidal tendencies.
Cause of Depression
The exact trigger for depression in adults, and teenage depression is not known. There are very good theories for what could be causes for depression. Three main factors are considered for possible causes.
One reason depression can occur is biological changes in the chemistry of the brain due to imbalances of neurotransmitters. These are natural substances that allow brain cells to communicate with each other.
Scientists believe that a deficiency in the transmitter serotonin, may cause sleep problems, irritability and anxiety. A decreased amount of the transmitter norepinephrine, may contribute to fatigue and a depressed mood.
Another body chemical that seems to be related to depression is cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that the body produces in reponse to fear, stress or anger. When it is working properly it peaks in the morning and then decreases during the day. In a person suffering from depression, cortisol peaks in the morning and never decreases or levels off.
Scientist do not know if depression cause the cortisol to rise or if the increased cortisol levels cause the depression.
A second factor scientists are studying is genetic. It is especially believed to be involved in cases of manic-depressive disorder.
Studies show that in adoptive children, they are 3 times more likely to have teenage depression if their biological relatives suffered from depression, than if their adoptive family members had it.
Environmental situations are the third cause that contributes to a depressive illness. Stress and the ending of relationships may precipitate depression in vulnerable people.
Research indicates that depression can also develop due to a physical illness, substance abuse or a reaction from a medication. The chance of treatment curing this type of depression is very high, once the cause has ended.
Help for Depression
A national crisis hotline linked to local crisis centers is now available. 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), a hotline service of http://www.livewithdepression.org
For crisis hotline help call the Covenant House nine line at 1-800-999-9999. They are a tremendous organization and their site on youth suicide for teenage depression is very helpful. http://www.nineline.org
The American Psychological Association has a site with a link for finding a Psychologist.
Psychiatric referrals are available through the American Psychiatric Association. (Go to “public information” and then to “choosing a Psychiatrist”)
Medical referrals are available in the American Medical Association’s “Doctor Finder”.
A good place to look to find support groups in your area is http://www.afsp.org/survivor/groups.htm.
Watch for the signs and save the life of someone you love. You can’t do it alone. Get the help you need for your friend, your family member or yourself.
Stress and Anxiety
There are a number of natural nutrients that have been found to help your body cope with stress. Neuro Natural Serenity Formula from Xtend-Life contains the key ingredients that help fight stress and anxiety including ginkgo biloba, SAMe and 5-HTP.
Xtend–Life Natural Products follows strict GMP guidelines, which are the toughest in the industry. They also hire the best scientists available to research and produce their supplements. They use only the purest herbal extracts giving you the maximum benefits available.
As we have said over and over – Depression is very serious. Neuro Natural Formula is and excellent stress fighting supplement, but always consult your physician when you feel anxiety or depression in your life.