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Stress and modern life are far more ingrained in modern culture, often causing a greater preponderance of mental disorders in almost all population dynamics. The teen population is not eliminated as a candidate for a disorder just because they may be young. In fact, mental disorders affect 1 in 5 teenagers. The prevalence of mental disorders in this population should encourage an abundance of treatment programs, but sadly, this is not the case. Because the diagnosis of an individual's mental state is subjective in nature, many troubled teens remain untreated. Depression in the youth population is a common occurrence, yet the diagnosis and treatment seem to slip through the cracks (Ellison and Verma, 2003).
Depression is often difficult to diagnose, and the health care industry contributes to the overlooking of depression in teens because of the overwhelming desire to keep costs down, and the difficulty in getting teens to be honest about their feelings. What are typical adolescent behaviors, for instance, and what are risk symptoms for depression? The factors of depression are open for interpretation, which results in different doctors looking for different things. When treated, teens usually receive pharmacological solutions, often causing more harm than good. Also, up to 50% of all depressed patients seen by general physicians are not identified as depressed (Schab, 2008). Clinically, though, new methods of cognitive and psychological therapy need to be developed that will provide a more effective, long-term, and safer form of therapy.
Clinically, depression refers to a state of mood that is expressed as sadness, melancholy, or aversion to activity, whether that be social of familial. It is a mental health disorder that has numerous sets of circumstances and symptoms, among which there are several that may be categorized:
Anger and/or irritability
Persistent sadness, often with no reason, feeling of emptiness
Anxiousness, panic, anxiety
Changing in sleeping patterns -- either wanting to retreat and sleep more or continual insomnia
Lack of appetite, or significant weight gain or loss
Irritability or restlessness, malaise, loss of energy
Achy feelings -- flu-like symptoms
Thoughts of suicide or death/dying ("Understanding Depression," 2010.)
Depression is not uncommon; up to 16% of all Americans are likely to have symptoms at some point in their life. Depression does not have a single cause; however, it may be genetic, personality, trauma, stress, hormones, physical conditions, and/or other psychological disorders. Biological influences of depression could be illness, light from the seasons, neurotransmitter malfunction, molds, sleep difficulties, or even drug abuse or mixtures of drugs and alcohol (Hendrie, 2009). Depression is actually more common among teens than adults. Many times, this is due to ignorance of the seriousness of problems, as well as the overreaction of many teens towards potential solutions to their problems (Cooperstein, 1999). According to a 2010 study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), suicide is the third leading cause of death in young adults from 15-24 years. Over 90% of these cases are caused directly from undetected, misdiagnosed, or undertreated depression (Teen Health, 2011).
Signs of Depression in Adolescents - One of the difficulties in diagnosing teens focuses on the fact that it is quite normal for teens to undergo spontaneous mood changes, irritable behaviors, excessive sleeping or eating, and loss of control over self-emotions. Many adults view teen behavior as simply a part of adolescence and do not assign the symptoms with the beginning stages of depression. It is often shocking for parents to find that their teen is clinically depressed -- losing interesting in school, friends, and life in gender. For this reason, it is important for parents, colleagues, and teachers to have a rubric with which to identify early signs of depression among adolescents (Focus Adolescent Services, 2011).
Teens often exhibit sad or teary behavior during adolescence, often as a result of raging hormones coursing through their bodies. Teens who go beyond this and are sad or tear up for seemingly no reason over time, who write poetry on melancholic themes, who listen to gloomy music, who take on patterns of antisocial behavior well beyond typical mood swings are all signs of early onset depression. It is the habitual and robustness of these themes that provide the clues. Teens that undergo feelings of tremendous despondency, feel that life is not worth living, that the world is a droll and ugly place, and put…[continue]
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