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Depression (major depressive disorder) - Symptoms, causes, and more

What Is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common mental disorder that has a significant effect on your mood, thoughts, and behavior. It can affect how you feel about yourself, your ability to make decisions and problems with functioning. People who are depressed may also experience feelings of guilt, worthlessness or regret. Depression can lead to other mental health disorders such as anxiety and bipolar disorder.


Depression, helplessness, hopelessness, mental condition, mental state

Symptoms of Depression:

1. You have a persistent sad, hopeless or empty mood

2. You experience more physical pain than usual

3. You sleep more or less than expected

4. You don't want to do things you used to enjoy

5. Your appetite is poor or overeating is a problem, and

6. You have problems remembering things, concentrating or making decisions

7. Thoughts of death, suicide or pain are common

8. More irritable and angry than usual (may show physical signs)

9... depression can cause you to feel bad about yourself and may worsen your self-esteem and self-confidence even though your achievements may be recognized by others... Depression can also make it difficult to relate with other people in an appropriate way... For example, you may withdraw from friends and family, feel like no one understands you or feel suspicious and mistrustful even of those trying to help you.

In depressed children and adolescents, the following problems are common: 

1. You have trouble doing what is expected at school or in other important areas of your life

2. You may have thoughts of death, suicide or hurting is important to understand that suicide is rarely a casual decision. Most people who die by suicide struggle with depression...In young people (and older people), there may be feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that lead to suicidal behavior... This can happen when stressful life experiences affect how you think about yourself, other people and/or the future... The impulse to kill yourself may come from a belief that you are worthless and "worthless" behavior means that you are not very nice or important... When addicted people become depressed, they often experience negative moods (depressed mood) and have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, feeling tired and less than attentive. It is not unusual for them to use more drugs or alcohol to cope with their negative moods and the greater effort it takes to get their lives back on track.

Depression can occur in men and women of all ages, although the highest rate is among adult women. Although most people become depressed for a limited period of time, depression can be a chronic (long-lasting) illness... In some cases, depression may be due to medical illnesses such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. It may also be related to certain medications.

In addition, physical illnesses such as cancer and heart disease are often accompanied by depression. These physical illnesses are severe stressors that affect many parts of your body including your brain... Depression also co-occurs with anxiety disorders, eating disorders and substance use disorders.


The causes of depression are not entirely understood, but there are many factors that may contribute to its development. Depression that develops in adulthood, such as is common in middle-aged parents of depressed children, is thought to be related to biology, genetics and life events.

More often than not, depression does not run in families or progress from cause to cause, but rather can start with a single stressful event or trigger and then gradually worsen over time... 


Stress is a term used to describe stressors that happen to you. These stressors (a group of events) can come from all areas of your life: work and family; school and community; friends and family; personal relationships...

With depression, whether it is caused by a physical illness, life events or because of genetics, the mind and body are reacting to what might be considered a stressor. If the stress is experienced in childhood or adolescence, the effects are often more severe. If a person has a predisposition to mental illnesses such as depression, she may have an increased risk of developing these disorders later in life...

life events: 

Life events that cause you distress are called triggers. Triggers can be as simple as being disappointed at work to going through a divorce... can also be more complex such as losing your job and having trouble finding another one... It is important to understand that grief does not equal depression...


It is possible that depression may have genetic roots. In families with the same behavioral disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, there is a risk for other family members to have the problem... Depression in first-degree relatives may also signal increased possibility of developing depression in future generations. However, there is no proof that people who experience depression have problems with thinking or feel less intelligent than other people...

Risk Factors for Depression:

Life events that can contribute to depression include:

1. Death, divorce or separation of parents

2. Loss of job, income or financial difficulties

3. Major illness or injury

4. General dissatisfaction with life 

Specific risk factors for depression and other mood disorders in adolescents are experiencing stressful things such as the death of a parent at a young age, abuse, being bullied and/or not being able to care for yourself (for example because you have lost your job), moving away from home, a romantic breakup if it was your first serious relationship, changing schools or homes and so on... Conflicts with parents/family are also linked to depressive symptoms and can be a risk factor for depression in children and adolescents.

psychological problems: 

According to the American Psychological Association, depression is the most common mental illness among adolescents... These numbers are even higher in young adults, possibly because people in this age group are less likely to seek treatment for their depression...

Young people with depression often have other health issues that affect their quality of life and may not get help until it is too late. Those with substance use disorders or eating disorders may also suffer from depression... Depression also affects teens who have learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Asperger's syndrome or other more common health problems such as asthma.

teenage depression:

Teenage years are a time of transition. It is normal to experience stress during this period. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that 10 percent to 15 percent of teens have a diagnosable mental health disorder in any given year... Stressful life events, peer pressure and other recent changes can lead to conditions that may cause or contribute to adolescent depression...

Risks Associated with Teen Depression:

1. Suicidal thoughts and attempts at suicide:   The risk of suicide is the most dangerous risk factor associated with depression in adolescents... It is estimated that one in five teenagers has considered suicide, and 25 percent of college students report at least one suicide attempt.

2. Substance abuse:

When people are depressed, they may abuse drugs or alcohol to get rid of the bad feelings, become more relaxed or to feel good about themselves. In some cases, teenagers may use drugs as a way to avoid family problems. Although people who have depression are more likely to engage in substance use than those without depression, not all substance abusers have a depressive disorder...

3. Physical health issues:   People with mental illnesses are at an increased risk of having physical health issues because they tend not to take care of themselves and engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol... Teens with mental health disorders may need medical treatment for common illnesses... other health conditions like headaches, infections and changes in weight.

4. School failure:   Depression can cause problems with school performance and interfere with success in the classroom... Teens who suffer from depression may also have low grades, miss school or be absent more often and not accomplish what is expected by their teacher...

5. Psychosocial impairment:   Children and adolescents who have depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions are more likely to have behavior problems such as aggressive, impulsive or hyperactive behaviors...

6. Depressive symptoms: Teens who experience depressive symptoms are at a higher risk for developing a mood disorder later in life. However, it is unclear how much of this is due to pre-existing factors versus the depression itself...

7. Sexual risk taking:   Teens with depression may take more risks sexually and may use substances such as alcohol or marijuana to feel better... there are also factors that can increase the risk of pregnancy in young people with depression...

8. Suicidal behavior:   Depression is a major risk factor for suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts... About 10 percent to 15 percent of teenagers with depression who have not been treated report a history of suicidal ideation, which means thinking about killing themselves.


There are many good reasons to get help, including the fact that depression is treatable and often can be prevented. The sooner you get treatment, the less severe your symptoms are likely to be...

To diagnose depression, the doctor will most likely use a screening questionnaire. The questions may include: "Over the last two weeks have you felt... guilty, worthless or helpless? Have you been bothered by things that never bothered you before?" ...

A parent or caregiver may be asked to fill out the questionnaire as well. Sometimes the doctor may give you a physical exam and ask you questions about your sleep, eating habits, energy level and ability to concentrate.

During the exam, the doctor may also want to know if you have been thinking or talking about hurting or killing yourself.   If so, they will ask whether or not you have considered how you would do this... This evaluation helps your doctor make a diagnosis of depression...


There are many different types of treatments that are effective in treating depression. The treatment that is right for one person may not be right for another person... It is important to find a treatment that works best for you.

1. Exercise:   Exercise can improve a person's mood, reduce stress and lower the risk of depression... but it also helps to build up muscle tissue, which helps with concentration, concentration and brain function.

2. Antidepressant medication:   Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment for depression... Antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor) are FDA-approved for teens 13 years of age and older...

3. Complementary and alternative treatments:   Herbal supplements, vitamins, tension and biofeedback therapy may also be helpful in treating depression... It is important to consult a physician or licensed therapist to discuss these types of remedies.

4. Group therapy:   There are several different approaches to group therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy and family-based therapy. In CBT, teens work with a therapist to learn how to change their thinking patterns that contribute to their depressed mood... This works well for teens who may have trouble talking openly about feelings...

In interpersonal group therapy, the therapist helps teens identify problems within the social networks around them and learn how to resolve them in a positive way... This approach works very well for teens who have difficulty communicating with their families...

In family-based therapy, the therapist works to improve communication between the child and family members to reduce stresses and improve overall functioning... This helps teens who are feeling rejected, angry and alone.

5. Peer support:   Anyone can help a friend, family member or loved one who is suffering from depression... Talking about your feelings with friends can be a big help. Also, consider enlisting the assistance of a professional who is trained in helping teens cope with their depression...

6.Medication:   Some medications may be given to children and teens diagnosed with depression... The most common antidepressants that are prescribed for teens are Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Celexa.

7. SSRIs:   Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are another type of antidepressant that is sometimes used to treat depression in young people... The most commonly prescribed SSRIs for pets include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro.

8. TCA:   Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are another class of antidepressants that may be prescribed to treat unipolar major depression in adolescents... TCAs include Aventyl, Elavil, Endep and Pamelor.

9. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors:   This group of drugs is used to treat depression in teens who do not respond to other antidepressant medications. The two most common monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) include Nardil and Parnate...

10. Lithium:   Lithium is an effective mood stabilizer that may be prescribed for some teens... This treatment works well for teens who have bipolar disorder and are experiencing depressive episodes.


There are many things parents can do to help prevent the development of depression in their children and adolescents...

• Help your child develop a positive self-image. Encourage them to take part in activities they enjoy and spend time with friends they like being around...

• Set a good example... If you are depressed, do not hesitate to get help. Even if you have the best intentions, it is not safe for you to "tough it out." Your child may be hesitant to ask for help, and without your example, he or she may feel no one will understand or help...

• Help your child cope with stress in healthy ways. Stress can affect behavior and mood. Learn about what triggers stress for your teen and teach them how to manage it... Be sure they know that although things may be hard right now, things do get better.

Depression Is Different From Sadness or /Bereavement:

Depression is not the same thing as being sad or upset... Someone who is severely depressed may have these feelings, but they are also likely to have many other symptoms.

Teenagers who feel sad and experience low self-esteem on a regular basis are typically having an emotional reaction to difficult life events and do not necessarily have depression...

However, teens with depression will often describe their feelings as overwhelming hopelessness, despair and worthlessness. They may feel that they are a burden to others and wish they would just die. They may also exhibit a lack of interest in things that used to be enjoyable and use drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their symptoms.

Depression is sometimes hard to diagnose and even harder to treat... If a teen is showing any of the symptoms listed above, it is wise to seek help as soon as possible.

Related Conditions:

1.Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder:   Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a mood disorder that occurs in women who are going through the premenstrual stage... It can be very serious and has been known to have a negative impact on your ability to function at school, work or home.

Affected teens may exhibit signs of irritability and aggression, an exaggerated startle reflex, feeling alienated or withdrawn and have an intense craving for carbohydrates...

2.Anxiety:   While anxiety can occur at any age, it is common among adolescents who are facing big changes. Perhaps this is why it may be easier for teens to talk about their feelings than adults. Anxiety may be due to a change in social status, loss of independence, death of a family member or friend and/or a new school... If a teen is overly preoccupied with anything, it is likely anxiety.



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