Everyone feels sad from time to time, but depression is more than just occasional feelings of sadness. Someone who is depressed has a chronic low mood, they feel badly about themselves, they may not have the interest to do things they once enjoyed, and they may even be thinking often about death or suicide. Depression can affect many areas of life including changes in sleep or eating patterns, problems in school, difficulties in relationships, and feeling bored or like you have no energy to do things that you need to or want to. Depression is a common mental disorder, one in five teens will experience depression at some point1. Sometimes depression can come on for no reason at all, but it is a treatable illness.
Warning signs of depression:
- Feeling sad most of the time, crying
- Loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to like
- Increased irritability or hostility
- Thoughts about suicide or being better off dead
- Eating and sleeping too much or too little
- Low self-esteem or often feeling guilty
- Trouble functioning at school and problems at home
- Frequent complaints of physical illness or pain
There are two main types of treatment for depression; talk therapy and medication. During talk therapy, a counselor may help to educate you on depression, look for its signs, and teach you how to use various coping skills. One type of treatment known as cognitive behavioral therapy shows you how to start changing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to depression. Only a doctor or psychiatrist can determine if medication would be helpful, prescribe medication, and monitor its use.