Depression is more than sadness or feelings of impending doom. It is a pervasive sense of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness that engulfs life, leaving the depressed person to suffer without relief. Symptoms of depression can include one or more of the following: loss of interest in normal activities and hobbies, sleep changes, appetite or weight changes, loss of energy, a feeling of irritability, self-loathing, trouble concentrating and unexplained aches and pains. Because many people do not properly understand Depression, some who suffer from it are reluctant to seek treatment for it, afraid of the stigma that may be attached to being identified with the illness.
Treatment for Depression normally requires at least some level of professional assistance. Therapy is frequently combined with medication to assist the depressed person in regaining a more balanced approach to life’s challenges. Therapy can help uncover root causes of the depression as well as provide effective coping strategies for dealing with the feelings of helplessness and despair. The symptoms of depression are also often helped by making healthy changes in terms of diet and exercise, and the addition of stress management techniques. A majority of people, including teenagers respond well to treatments, and have partial or complete recovery from symptoms.
Parents of teens who are suffering from Depression may not recognize the symptoms, because the more frequent response to it in teens is irritability rather than sadness. A depressed teen is likely to demonstrate hostility, grumpiness and loss of temper. Depression in teens can frequently lead to self medication with drugs or alcohol, and create problems with schoolwork. Depression is a also a major cause of teen suicide, emphasizing the importance of seeking treatment early for problems rather than hoping things will improve on their own.