More on Diagnosing and Treating Depression in Young People

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Depressive illness in children and teens is defined when the feelings of depression persist and interfere with a child’s or adolescent’s ability to function. Many depressions are left untreated because people fail to recognize the symptoms.

While I was working at the college health center, I saw many students who were depressed. It was not only major symptoms of depression that I observed. I saw the students having other symptoms like: frequent headache, stomach ache, nausea, alcohol or drug abuse, increased irritability, anger, and change in mood.

It is important to know these symptoms, so we can distinguish depression from occasional normal sadness or moodiness. “It is important to remember that the behavior of depressed children and teenagers may differ from the behavior of depressed adults”. “Teen Depression”, Focus Adolescent services, http://www.focusas.com/Depression.html

Signs of depressive disorders in young people often are viewed simply as normal mood swings, typical of a particular developmental stage.

The majority of youth depression can be helped with treatment; most teen or college students with mental health problems do not get this help unfortunately. We need to educate the youth that it is important to get help immediately. We also have to know other early symptoms of depression and reach out to the students. We have to create a supportive environment for the youth or the student. Depressed teens become even more depressed with every supposed rejection.

At the community level we should educate our health professionals, teachers, parents, and young students. Our community has to offer counseling and assist with more information about depression. Screening can take place in schools, doctors’ offices, clinics, youth groups, shelters, and other youth-serving organizations and settings. In the Unites States, Youth Suicide Prevention programs are mental health check-ups available for all American teens.

Depressed children and teens are at increased risk for committing suicide. I have seen a couple students saying “I want to kill myself,” or “I don’t care about myself”. We have to take this seriously and put them under further evaluation.

After a professional evaluation most youths do not realistically harm themselves, but many have depressive behaviors. However, asking whether he or she is aware of what is happening can help the depressed think better about his or her situation. It is in bringing out their thoughts that such questions will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.

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