Teenage Depression And Suicide Essay

1424 words - 6 pages

“A dark brooding cloud was slowly casting a shadow across my mind.” “I felt weighed down, oppressed by the burden of having to face a new day.” “A crushing sense of hopelessness that was unlike anything I had ever experienced before” “It was as if something else had seized control of my mind.” “The darkness was spreading inside me like a cancer.” — These descriptions are how Cait Irwin, who suffered from depression as a teenager, described it. Teenage depression is a common but serious illness that can ultimately send some on a downward spiral towards suicide that can be averted if recognized and given the proper treatment.
Countless teenagers experience some type of depression in their lifetime, but what exactly is depression and just how common is it? “Depression is a mental disorder that involves being either sad or irritable nearly all the time, or losing interest or enjoyment in almost everything. These feelings last for at least two weeks, and they cause significant distress or difficulty with everyday tasks.” According to the National Comorbidity Survey, “14% of teens experience major depression by age 18.” That’s about one out of every seven teenagers. In the same survey, “11% of teens had experienced minor depression—a term sometimes used when people have a few mild symptoms of depression” (Irwin, Evans, and Wasmer 11+). Adding these numbers together, shows that one-fourth of teens in this survey had experienced depression-like symptoms before 18. This shows that depression is surprisingly common in teenagers. So, how would someone recognize depression? People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual (“National Institute of Mental Health”). Symptoms of depression include vague, nonspecific physical complaints such as muscle aches, headaches, stomachaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment, overeating or appetite loss, persistent sad or irritable mood, loss of interest in activities or hobbies once enjoyed, outbursts of shouting, complaining, or crying, lack of interest in socializing with friends, absences from school, poor performance in school, reckless behavior, being bored, increased hostility or anger, extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, social isolation or poor communication, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, irritability, restlessness, fatigue and decreased energy, insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping, difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions, and thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. (Harper, Marks, and Nelson; “National Institute of Mental Health). These symptoms must be recognized and given the proper treatment before things get worse.
Untreated depression is the leading cause of teen suicide, so treatment of this condition is often the first step to preventing suicide (“Teen Suicide”). Most people suffering...

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