Depression is an illness affecting 5 percent of young Australian. Depression affects people in different ways and the severity varies - some cases can be so severe sufferers are debilitated.
In the last 50 years, depression has become increasingly common in teenagers. Teens who are under stress, who experience loss, or who have attention, learning, conduct or anxiety disorders are at a higher risk for depression. Teenage girls are at especially high risk, as are minority youth.
Sarah is 17 and was diagnosed with depression 2 years ago. She tells, "I started to feel anxious constantly, couldn't stop crying and just didn't want to go to school, see my friends or even think about the future. The day the doctor labelled what I was going through was such a relief. To know I wasn't going crazy and I was suffering from depression, which could be treated, was comforting."
If you, or someone close to you is exhibiting persistent signs of the below symptoms, depression may be responsible:
*Frequent sadness, crying, tearfulness
*Decreased interest in activities previously enjoyed
*Boredom, lack of energy
*Low self esteem
*Feelings of guilt
*Absence from school
*Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
*Difficulty sustaining friendships and relationships
*Drug / alcohol abuse
Depression is a real illness that requires professional help. Treatments may include individual and family therapy and or the use of antidepressant medication. For young people with milder forms of depression, a brief period of therapy may be the only necessary treatment.
Sarah had counselling, was prescribed medication and is dealing with her illness. "I'm feeling much more like myself, and am aware of my triggers, and have been taught exercises to cope. I'm doing year 12 and cant wait to start uni, I feel much more positive about life in general".
If you are concerned you or someone you know is suffering from depression, it is important to seek advice from your family doctor, who can diagnose and provide appropriate treatment for depression. It has been proven the earlier depression is diagnosed in a persons life, the greater the reduction in risk of long-term emotional difficulties.