Depression Symptoms and Getting Help
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
Symptoms that people have when they're depressed can include:
- depressed mood or sadness most of the time (for what may seem like no reason)
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- inability to enjoy things that used to bring pleasure
- withdrawal from friends and family
- iirritability, anger, or anxiety
- inability to concentrate
- significant weight loss or gain
- significant change in sleep patterns (inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get up in the morning)
- feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- aches and pains (with no known medical cause)
- pessimism and indifference (not caring about anything in the present or future)
- thoughts of death or suicide
When someone has five or more of these symptoms most of the time for 2 weeks or longer, that person is probably depressed.
Teens who are depressed may show other warning signs or symptoms, such as lack of interest or motivation, poor concentration, and low mental energy caused by depression. They also might have increased problems at school because of skipped classes.
Some teens with depression have other problems, too, and these can intensify feelings of worthlessness or inner pain. For example, people who cut themselves or who have eating disorders may have unrecognized depression that needs attention.
Depression is one of the most common emotional problems in the United States and around the world. The good news is that it's also one of the most treatable conditions. Therapists and other professionals can help. In fact, about 80% of people who get help for their depression have a better quality of life — they feel better and enjoy themselves in a way that they weren't able to before.
Treatment for depression can include talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Talk therapy with a mental health professional is very effective in treating depression. Therapy sessions can help people understand more about why they feel depressed, and ways to combat it.
Sometimes, doctors prescribe medicine for a person who has depression. When prescribing medicine, a doctor will carefully monitor patients to make sure they get the right dose. The doctor will adjust the dose as necessary. It can take a few weeks before the person feels the medicine working. Because every person's brain is different, what works well for one person might not be good for another.
Everyone can benefit from mood-boosting activities like exercise, yoga, dance, journaling, or art. It can also help to keep busy no matter how tired you feel.
People who are depressed shouldn't wait and hope it will go away on its own because depression can be effectively treated. Friends or others need to step in if someone seems severely depressed and isn't getting help.
Many people find that it helps to open up to parents or other adults they trust. Simply saying, "I've been feeling really down lately and I think I'm depressed," can be a good way to begin the discussion. Ask your parent to arrange an appointment with a therapist. If a parent or family member can't help, turn to your school counselor, best friend, or a helpline to get help.