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Teen Depression

Adolescence is an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life. Watch out for teen depression. Keep reading to learn what symptoms accompany teen depression and treatment options for teen depression.

Ups and downs are a regular part of life. However, sometimes “down” periods last longer than usual. This is usually a result of chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters, being out of balance. Among teens, depression can be a very real problem. Experts estimate that teen depression strikes about one out of eight teenagers. Teen depression can come on as a result of chemical changes in the brain due to stress or even to hormonal changes. No matter how teenage depression strikes, however, it is important to get help restoring the brain’s chemical balance, as prolonged depression can lead to self-destructive behaviors including risk taking, cutting, substance abuse and even suicide.

Symptoms of teen depression

There are several symptoms of teen depression. Among them are:

  • Withdrawing from family and friends 
  • Losing interest in social and extracurricular activities 
  • Displaying a lack of energy 
  • Feeling tired most of the time 
  • Anxiety 
  • Irritability 
  • Anger 
  • Feelings of sadness for much of the time 
  • Significant weight fluctuations 
  • Sleep pattern changes 
  • Physical pains and aches, or sickness, even though there is nothing physically wrong 
  • Indifference about the future 
  • Uncharacteristic pessimism 
  • Guilty feelings 
  • Lowering self-esteem 
  • Suicidal thoughts

While these symptoms can be experienced by nearly everyone at some point in life, it is important to be able to tell teen depression apart from the normal roller coaster of life. A general rule of thumb for recognizing teenage depression is that five or more symptoms will persist without break for more than two weeks.

Major types of teen depression

There are two main types of teen depression. These include:

Major depression: This type of teen depression is of short duration, although it is quite severe. It is possible to have a bout of severe depression, feel fine for a few months (or even years), and then have another bout. For teens, though, even one bout of severe depression can feel as though it will never end and prompt a suicide attempt.

Dysthymia: Dysthymia lasts much longer than major depression, and the feelings are not as severe. Some teens have this low level depression plague them for years without having it diagnosed. This type of depression can also lead to teen suicide if the teenager becomes discouraged with never feeling happy.

Another type of teen depression has to do with life changes. It is called adjustment disorder with depressed mood, and it can be the result of the death of a loved one, divorce, moving to a different town, or even changing schools. This, too, can lead to teen suicide if the teenager feels hopeless, and that the feeling will never end.

Treatment for teen depression

Teen depression can be treated before lasting damage is done in the form of self-medicating (through substance abuse) or even teen suicide. Every teenager is different, however. For some teens, therapy alone works well, while for others, medication is needed. Most teens respond favorably to a combination of therapy and medication. However, it is important to realize that medication can become habit forming, and that it should only be used while under a doctor’s care, and only as directed.

Teen Depression Main Source Material: “Depression,” [Online.]

Related Article: Teen Drug Abuse >>



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