When thinking of teenagers we get the feeling of carefree days, days with no or minimal responsibility and days filled with fun, laughter and joy. This reality is a fairytale for some teenagers. Adolescent depression is a real and growing problem in our society. Numbers of depression diagnosed in adolescents are on the rise. Is this because of more depressed teenagers, or is there an explanation for this. Are there underlying problems or causes for the high depression numbers? Is there something that we can do to help these teenagers. What are the symptoms and diagnoses. Factors contributing to this problem are all things that will be discussed in this paper.
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Symptoms of depression
There are many different symptoms for depression and these may include but not be limited to the following according to the National institute for Mental Health:
* Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
* Fatigue and decreased energy
* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
* Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
* Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
* Irritability, restlessness
* Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
* Overeating or appetite loss
* Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
* Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
* Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Symptoms for teens are very similar to the above mentioned symptoms and can include but not be limited to:
* Feeling helpless
* Withdrawal from activities
* Avoidance of peers
* Low self-esteem
* Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
* Difficulty concentrating
* Changes in eating habits
* Slow or rapid movement
* Weight gain or loss
* Substance abuse
* Difficulty with authority
* Suicidal thoughts or actions
Factors contributing to depression
Characteristics of adolescent depression
The DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association,2000; p. 353) suggests that ‘the core symptoms of a major depressive episode are the same for children and adolescents,
although there are data that suggest that the prominence of characteristic symptoms may change with age’.
Brage et al. (1995) reported three pertinent factors associated with depression: loneliness, self-esteem, and age. Puskar et al. (1999) stated that self-reported depressive symptoms in rural adolescents are significantly related to gender, death in the family, and the perceived positive and negative impact of life events, including the specific events of losing a close
friend, an increase in the number of arguments with parents, trouble with classmates, and trouble with police. Crow, M., Ward, N., Dunnachie, B., & Roberts, M.(2006).
According to (Kovacs et al. 1989; Watkins 1995), if someone has had an episode of depression their chance of experiencing more episodes in the future increase, and if it recurs incomplete recovery is more likely. (Coryell et al. 1993; Paykel 1994; Pyne et al. 1997)
Furthermore it is suggested that following recovery young people can encounter psychosocial problems like intimacy problems, substance abuse, problems with authority like parents and police.
When looking at the subject of depression, more specifically adolescent or teen depression, it has a relatively young history. In the olden days depression had one criteria, both for adults and adolescents. Researchers stated that differences in the relative occurrences of...