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What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes chronic feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in life and daily activities. It can take a person “over” like a dark cloud and drains any sense of pleasure from activities that were once deemed enjoyable. Major depressive disorder, as it is often diagnosed, affects how you feel, think and behave and often leads to a variety of emotional, physical, mental, financial, and spiritual problems. For many people, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems at work, school, social activities, or in relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why. You may have trouble engaging in normal day-to-day activities, have frequent sleep disruptions, a loss of motivation to complete simple tasks, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

 

What are the symptoms?

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports

  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort

  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain

  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness

  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things

  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

 

What does depression look like in children and teens?

Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are like those of adults, but there can be some differences.

Younger children:

  • Sadness and irritability 

  • Clinginess  

  • Worry

  • Stomachaches and body pains

  • School refusal 

  • Being underweight 

 

Teens:

  • Sadness and irritability 

  • Feeling negative and worthless 

  • Anger 

  • Poor performance or attendance at school 

  • Feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive 

  • Recreational use of drugs or alcohol 

  • Eating or sleeping too much 

  • Self-harm

  • Loss of interest in normal activities 

  • Avoidance of social interaction

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