What is depression?
Everyone has felt depressed from time to time. A death in the family, a failed romance, a lost job, a serious  illness, or other life crises will cause most people to feel sad, lonely, or down for a time. A period of grief or sadness is a normal reaction to such stressful events. It's even normal to feel "blah" sometimes for no particular reason. However, it also is normal to recover after a short time and feel like yourself again. When the blues don't go away?
when sad, lonely, irritable, or weary feelings prevent getting on with life? you, or someone you know, may have the mood disorder called depression. A mood disorder is an extreme, persistent disruption of a person's usual emotional state.

Major depression
Of the estimated 17.5 million Americans who are affected by some form of depression, about 9.2 million have major or clinical depression. Listed below are typical symptoms of major depression. If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Some people who have this disorder experience only a few symptoms, while others may have almost all these feelings. If the symptoms of depression persist for at least 2 weeks, a major depression is likely, and you should see your doctor. If you have recurrent thoughts about suicide or death, talk to your doctor immediately.

feeling sad or anxious most of the day, every day
losing interest in activities you once enjoyed, including sex
losing weight (when not dieting) or gaining weight
sleeping too much or too little or waking too early
feeling drained of energy or physically slowed down
feeling tired or weak all the time
feeling worthless, guilty, or hopeless
feeling irritable or restless all the time
having trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
having headaches, digestive disorders
having repeated thoughts of suicide 
having hallucinations (false perceptions) or delusions (false beliefs)

Childhood Depression

As a parent, it can be devastating to see a once happy, care-free child become a sullen shadow of his or her former self; a depressed child who has forgotten how to smile and who seems to have lost the contagious joy that comes so naturally to children. Having slowly become socially withdrawn, depressed children seem to lack the interest in things that used to excite them, and they become increasingly more irritable, tearful and sad. If this is a familiar chain of events, your child may be suffering with depression. What Causes Childhood Depression?

  • Genetics – Studies have shown that people who have relatives with a history of depression are two to three times more likely to develop depression themselves. Children with depressed parents are also at great risk because of the genetic link as well as the risk of learned behavior.
  • Brain chemistry – Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and certain hormones such as the stress hormone cortisol have been related to depression. Depression often occurs when the delicate balance of these brain chemicals is disturbed resulting in a general imbalance in other neurotransmitters. This chemical imbalance happens due to genetic and personality vulnerabilities, stressful life events or a combination of these factors. 
  • Stressful life events – Stressful life events such as loss of parent, divorce or separation of parents, family conflict, abuse or large life change such as changing schools can all trigger depression.
  • Learned helplessness and personality traits – The way your child views the world can influence their vulnerability to developing depression. Some children have melancholic personalities, or are socially withdrawn or anxious by nature. These children are at greater risk for depression than outgoing, easily adaptable children who tend to view most situations in a positive light.

    Sometimes this behavior is learned from parents who may be overly critical, pessimistic or depressed themselves. Children can also have life
    experiences that teach them they are not in control or that they are prone to failure. Abuse or parents with unrealistically high expectations of their children can increase the chances that a child will develop a learned helplessness cognitive style.

Teen Depression

About 5 percent of children and adolescents in the general population suffer from depression at any given point in time. Children under stress, who experience loss, or who have attentional, learning, conduct or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. It is important to remember that the behavior of depressed children and teenagers may differ from the behavior of depressed adults. The characteristics vary, with most children and teens having additional psychiatric disorders, such as behavior disorders or substance abuse problems.

depression signs description
Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying Teens may show their pervasive sadness by wearing black clothes, writing poetry with gloomy themes, or having a obsession with music that has nihilistic themes. They may cry for no obvious reason.
Hopelessness Teens may consider that life is not worth living or worth the effort to even sustain their appearance or hygiene. They may believe that a negative situation will never change and be pessimistic about their future.
Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities Teens may become apathetic and drop out of clubs, sports, and other activities they once enjoyed. Not much seems fun anymore to the depressed teen.
Persistent boredom; low energy Lack of motivation and lowered energy level is reflected by missed classes or not going to school.
Social isolation, poor communication There is a lack of connection with friends and family. Teens may avoid family gatherings and events. Teens that used to spend a lot of time with friends may now spend most of their time alone and without interests. Teens may not share their feelings with others, believing that they are alone in the world and no one is listening to them or even cares about them.
Low self esteem and guilt Teens may assume blame for negative events or circumstances. They may feel like a failure and have negative views about their competence and self-worth. They feel as if they are not "good enough."
Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure Believing that they are unworthy, depressed teens become even more depressed with every supposed rejection or perceived lack of success.
Increased irritability, anger, or hostility Depressed teens are often irritable, taking out most of their anger on their family. They may attack others by being critical, sarcastic, or abusive. They may feel they must reject their family before their family rejects them.
Difficulty with relationships Teens may suddenly have no interest in maintaining friendships. They'll stop calling and visiting their friends.
Frequent complaints of physical illnesses, such as headaches and stomachaches Teens may complain about faintness or dizziness, being nauseous, and back pain. Other common complaints include headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, and menstrual problems.
Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school Children and teens that cause trouble at home or at school may actually be depressed but not know it. Because the child may not always seem sad, parents and teachers may not realize that the behavior problem is a sign of depression.
Poor concentration Teens may have trouble concentrating on schoolwork, following a conversation, or even watching television.
A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns Sleep disturbance may show up as all-night television watching, difficulty in getting up for school, or sleeping during the day. Loss of appetite may become anorexia or bulimia. Eating too much may result in weight gain and obesity.
Talk of or efforts to run away from home Running away is usually a cry for help. This may be the first time the parents realize that their child has a problem and needs help.
Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior Teens who are depressed may say they want to be dead or may talk about suicide. Depressed children and teens are at increased risk for committing suicide.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Depressed teens may abuse alcohol or other drugs as a way to feel better.
Self-Injury Teens that have difficulty talking about their feelings may show their emotional tension, physical discomfort, pain and low self-esteem with self-injurious behaviors, such as cutting.


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The information and procedures contained herein is not presented as medical advice nor should it be used as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care practitioner. The information contained herein has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and the information set forth herein are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease nor should any information contained herein be read as prescribing any specific remedy or guaranteeing any specific result. We are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the suggestions preparations, or procedures discussed herein. All matters pertaining to your physical health should be supervised by a health care professional.