So how can you tell the difference between depression and unhappy
moods or the "blues"? And what warning signs can you look for in
yourself or someone you care about?
Everyone experiences ups and downs. These are a natural part of being
human, and especially a part of being a teen in a world that may often
seem difficult or confusing. It's perfectly normal to feel sad or down from
time to time depending on what's going on in your life.
But your low feelings should not last for more than a few days, make you
feel so badly that you lose interest in stuff you used to enjoy, or make
you feel like you are unable to do things the way you could before.
Drastic changes in behaviors or feelings, like eating or sleeping a lot or
experiencing continual mood swings, can be warning signs of depression.
Doctors have agreed on the basic symptoms of the most common forms
of depression that affect teens. It's not the name of the disorder that's
important, but the symptoms you are experiencing and how depression
is changing your life.
If you think you may be depressed, it's important to get professional help
right away. A trusted adult can help you begin the process. If you are so
depressed that you have thought about suicide, it can't wait another minute.
The sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better. The good news is
that most of the people who get help for their depression are able to feel
better and improve their lives.
This goes for a friend, too. If you have a friend who you think is depressed,
make sure you or your friend talks to an adult who can find the right
treatment. Let your friend know that you are there for support during this
The important thing to remember is that depression is very common and
doesn't mean that someone is weak or a bad person. And remember that
asking for help is the most important first step toward feeling better