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Depression Essay, Research Paper

There are many misconceptions about depression. Pathological depression is not the “dispirited” or “down” mood, which we all experience from time to time, and which causes us to say, “I’m depressed,” but it is a debilitating illness that affects one in five people of all ages from children to adults. It is not just a passing mood swing. Depression can affect not only a person’s mood but also his or her ability to function normally. Treatment is available yet quite a number do not seek it.

Depression is the most common psychiatric disease in society nowadays. Over eighteen million Americans over the age of eighteen suffer from it. Depression is thought to occur from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medicines are used to try to correct the imbalance and relieve emotional and physical symptoms. However pathological depression can also occur from stress, a crisis such as a death or other problem in the persons life and even wrong diet.

Depression in teenagers has however been underrated as mood swings or that he or she is just going through a “phase”. In the past decade, suicide in teenagers has increased by 200% in America, which is a startling figure. Adolescent suicide is now responsible for more deaths in youths aged 15 to 19 than cardiovascular disease or cancer. Depression has been missed and not treated in many cases of teenagers because adolescence is such a time of mood and emotional changes as well as heightened sensitivity etc. Out of 100,000 adolescents, two to three thousand will have mood disorders out of which eight-ten will commit suicide. Wrist cutting and overdosing are the commonest means of suicide for women, while men have a higher rate of shooting and hanging. . The number of depressed teenagers that attempt suicide yet do not succeed is much higher. These attempts at suicide should be seen as a cry of help.

Symptoms of depression are varied from person to person, but there are some common ones, such as difficulty in concentration or decision making, pessimism, lessened sexual activity, social withdrawal, temper outbursts, constant tiredness, over sleeping or insomnia.

In teenagers these symptoms are common; but other signs such as a drop in school grades, loss of appetite or over eating, sleep disturbance ( e.g. staying awake all-night and sleeping during the day) can also be prevalent.

It is common for young people to contemplate how their life affects their family and friends and what would happen if they died. In most cases thankfully, this theorizing is not carried on to a testing stage, however the suicide rate in teenagers is still growing quite rapidly. Usually, a significant crisis occurs in the teenager’s life around the time just before the suicide that may affect them greatly, though other people may not think it a great problem. This can range from girlfriend/boyfriend problems to family conflict to other things. Depression is rife at this stage and if not treated, then is very dangerous.

Some of the worst things, to say to a depressed teenager, are “it’s just a phase, you’ll grow out of it”, and “Think of all the other people worse off than you”. Or in some cases to a girl ” Do you have PMT (Pre Menstrual Tension)?” The best thing to do is to show that you care for them and support them. Not that you think they are over exaggerating. Depressed teenagers are not seeking attention or feeling sorry for themselves. This is an illness that must be treated.

With adolescents, two main types of treatments are tried. Either psychotherapy or medication. Usually the two are combined. Psychotherapy involves active listening, motivation in improving their life and thoughts and advice. Usually mild depression is treated this way. For more serious depression, especially where suicidal intentions are shown medication is prescribed. There are many different types of anti-depressants. Traditional drugs have quite a lot of side effects, especially on teenagers, and the new range of elective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are more tolerable and have a faster working time are being used. Medication however, takes some time to start showing its effects, and improving the persons well being. Generally it takes four-six weeks.

Girls in adolescence have a much higher risk of depression and are more likely to have it then boys of the same age. Also children that experience depression in their teenage years but don’t have it treated are more likely to experience depression in the latter stages of their life.

Depression in teenagers must be made more aware in society and recognized. Depression is an illness and like any other illness, it has a treatment, which over time is improving. With treatment, depression can be controlled and even cured.


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