Saleha Suleman

(Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

Depression has been defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity that may be a normal reaction to life events or circumstances by Wikipedia. Depression is usually present in adults who have faced difficult and unmanageable situations in their lives. But recently, depression has come up in teenagers.

A statistic compiled by shows that a higher number of females, in comparision to males, face depression, and the highest percentage of depression occurs in the ages 16 and 17. When adults undergo depression, they usually exhibit sadness, while adolescent sufferers of depression display increased irritability, aggressive or self destructive behavior.

Depression should not be confused with the occasional mood swings or bad days. Depression is a feeling that overwhelms the sufferer and is long term. You can pick out whether a teen is suffering from depression by a few symptoms: sadness or hopelessness in the teen, unusual irritability or anger, tearfulness or reason-less frequent crying, change in eating and sleeping habits, a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, feelings of worthlessness and a lack of motivation. The teen may also have a difficulty concentrating, feel unexplainable fatigue and will most likely have thoughts of death and/or suicide.

Depression can be a result of a few factors, but there is no definite cause for it. One of the causes is when neurotransmitters in the brain become out of balance, and another is a change in hormone levels. also tells us that depression can be inherited or can be a result of early childhood trauma, such as parents’ divorce or physical abuse. Depression also starts about when one starts having a pattern of negative thoughts about themselves and everything around them. They may feel like a waif, worthless or used.

Drugs and alcohol abuse may be an attempt to ‘self medicate’ themselves, but this only makes it worse for the sufferers. Internet addiction seems like a perfect thing to keep their mind away, while running away from home is just an unspoken cry for help. Teens affected by depression will face problems at school and will resort to being reckless and violent. They will have a low self esteem and will most likely not speak to anyone about it. In extreme cases, suicidal attempt is an effect of teenage depression as well.

Depression can be cured over a period of time. An adult must try to talk to the teen suffering from depression and try to understand what is going on in his/her mind. After that, the correct treatment can be determined. The patient must be kept away from drugs and alcohol and must be reassured at all times. He/she should not feel isolated and while taking any decision to help rid the depression, take the patients opinion. The use of antidepressants on teens has not been established yet, as to whether or not it affects teens in the same way as it does adults, and if not, how. The patients’ diet must be made healthy to help have better moods, as suggested by

The most important thing is knowing the symptoms of depression and helping the sufferer in any way. If you are not sure, speak to an adult or search the net, and don’t let the sufferer take any step he/she might regret. Remember, during depression, the person is not in his/her right state of mind, and so will be biased while taking decisions.

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