The Unknown Issues of Adolescent Depression

With the many physical, emotional, social, and psychological changes occurring during adolescence, it is normal to experience a roller coaster of mood changes. When these changes affect your daily life, however, it could be something more concerning. Nearly one in five of today’s adolescents suffer from clinical depression.  Even more alarming, depression is one of the major risk factors in teen suicide. Nearly 5,000 adolescents take their own life every year.

Most people understand depression as a chemical imbalance or genetic trait that leaves you feeling sad without any particular reason. Below are ten facts about depression that you may not know.

1.     Depression distorts your thinking:

When you are depressed, your mind may begin to play tricks on you. You start seeing things more negatively. It is important not to let these distortions impair your ability to see the bigger picture.

2.     Depression causes you to isolate.

It is hard to socialize when you are consumed by overwhelming sadness. You feel alone even among friends.

3.     Depression can initially be experienced as anxiety.

65 percent of those suffering from depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

4.     Depression can cause persistent irritability.

Depression can cause increased anger or irritability, especially among adolescents who already have trouble regulating emotions.

5.     Depression causes physical pain:

Adolescents diagnosed with depression also report having frequent migraines and stomachaches.   

6.     Self-Medicating for symptoms of depression actually increases depression:

Many adolescents begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol to reduce the symptoms of depression. However, alcohol and most street drugs are classified as depressants, which can actually increase your symptoms.

7.     Depression affects your relationships:

You may find yourself withdrawing from family or friends. Or, to the contrary, clinging to relationships that may be unhealthy.

8.     Exercise alleviates symptoms of depression:

Exercise increases the dopamine levels in your body. A simple 30 minute walk can leave you feeling happy and energetic.

9.     Depression can lead to other mental illnesses if not treated:

Depression causes an overload on your brain. It can quickly turn into a more serious condition especially if depression is cause by a traumatic event.

10.Depression is treatable.

While medication is sometimes prescribed for treatment of depression, it can also be effectively treated by psychotherapy.

Depression among adolescence is common. However, it should not interfere with your daily life. If you find yourself suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, you should seek help immediately. Depression doesn’t have to consume your life. It is treatable.  

Dennis Carradin