Operation: End Depression


What is Teen Depression?

Everybody who is reading this probably has some idea of what depression is, but generally, there's a lot more to it than most people think.  Primarily, depression in teens is a lot more serious than it is often made out to be.  Most of us feel sad, or depressed at times, perhaps when we fail a test, or when we get in a fight with a friend. While many of the causes, such as loss of a loved one, are the same between adults and teens, but there are many others that teens are susceptible to.  School results in peer pressure and academic expectations that many teens struggle to keep up with.  Furthermore, teens constantly have to deal with the changes that adolescence results in.

As much as people might think so, depression is not something that can just be overcome.  It is often a medical condition that requires treatment and therapy, or it can result in serious consequences like suicide. 

How do I know if a Friend is Depressed?

There are many symptoms that you can watch for in both yourself and your friends:


  •  Feeling of sadness
  • Specifically that lasts for over two weeks.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Irritability, frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite.  Depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Agitation or restlessness -- for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy -- even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixation on past failures or self-blame when things aren't going right
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pains or headaches
  • Disruptive behavioral problems, particularly in boys
  • Anxiety, preoccupation with body image and concerns about performance, particularly in girls
  • Trouble in school
  • Frequent absence and performance.


Causes of Teen Depression


  • Individuals who suffer from depression tend to have differences in their brain from people who don't suffer from depression.
  • Neurotransmitters: These are chemicals in the brain which control emotions, and cause emotional instances such as depression.
  • Hormones: This may be a common reason adults give for strange things teenagers do, and often it may not be the cause.  However, the strange balance of these in teenagers may be a cause for depression.
  • Inherited traits: Just like many diseases, depression is more common in individuals whose family members have suffered from it.
  • Life events: Traumatic events such as the deaths of other family members or friends, unfortunate financial situations, or stress from school or other elements of one's life can cause depressions.
  • Early childhood trauma: Abuse or loss in early childhood can change the functioning of a person and cause depression later in their life.
  • Negative Thinking: It is possible to learn ways to think negatively.  This can cause depression.


While depression is in itself harmful, it has the potential to cause much more dangerous complications.


  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Anxiety
  • Academic Problems
  • Family conflicts
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Suicide


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