Nearly two million American teenagers are diagnosed with depression but many go undiagnosed. As many as one in five young people will experience depression before they become adults, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Teens experience depression more intensely than adults.
Some of the signs of teen depression include a change in appetite, a change in sleep, a change in concentration, a change in mood and most importantly, a change in the ability to really enjoy things. Also, teen depression lasts for more than two weeks.
Also, teens are more likely to pick up self-injuring habits, such as cutting their skin with sharp objects. Teens believe cutting helps them escape their own thoughts. More than likely, they do not want to die, they just want to feel something other than they are feeling.
Self-mutilation is used to turn emotional pain into a temporary and controllable physical pain. Many times, people do it because they feel the desire to feel alive.
Many teens suffer in silence because they are too ashamed to admit that they need help.
Part of the depression stigma stems from the belief that people can control their symptoms of depression on their own. Many teens resist medication because, for some, taking an antidepressant can be seen as cheating.
Many studies show that early treatment using medication or talk therapy may prevent depressive episodes.
Depression isn't an attitude a teen is choosing. It's a serious and real brain disorder.
But for many teens, the symptoms of depression remain unrecognized. And unrecognized depression in some teens can lead to suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people 14 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And more than 600,000 teens make an attempt every year.
The good news is that depression can be treated with talk therapy, medication or both. However, some estimate that 20 to 40 percent can suffer a relapse.
One organization that helps teens is Aevidum (ae-vid-um).