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Mental Health

"One of the most obvious ways dogs can improve our physical and mental health is via daily walks."

Andrew Weil

Teen Depression

There are times you may feel sad, lonely, or hopeless for a few days. But major depression -- clinical depression -- lasts longer and is disabling. It can prevent you from functioning normally. An episode of clinical depression may occur only once in a person's lifetime. More often, though, it recurs throughout a person's life. This is why it is important that you not only seek help from family and friends when feeling this way, but that you also talk to somebody like your school counselor.

In recent times, teenagers suffering from mental disorders like depression were dismissed as being moody, or difficult. It was often believed that teenagers and children could not be depressed. Of course, nowadays we know more and are able to conclude that, yes, teens can suffer from this extremely mentally grueling disorder. According to the World Health Organization, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability among Americans age 15 to 44 and about 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18 says the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A).

Some signs and symptoms of depression:

  • You always feel sad, irritable, or just plain want to be alone
  • You are having problems sleeping, or are sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of the ability to concentrate. Dropping grades may be an indication.
  • Nothing sounds fun anymore, not even things you used to enjoy doing
  • You’re having a lot of unexplained headaches lately
  • You feel helpless, hopeless, lonely, or a combination of the three!

Some things you can do to try and help with depression include:

  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Physical exercise
  • Avoiding isolation
  • Sharing you feelings with others
  • Asking for help when you feel overwhelmed

If you think you may have depression, remember that you are not alone and that there are many different ways to address issues like these. Call 1-800-SUICIDE if ever thinking about death or taking your life. Know that there is always another answer, and that suicide is a permanent fix to a temporary condition.