Could You Be Depressed?

DepressionSome people confuse sadness with depression. Feeling sad from time to time is normal and doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. It’s natural to feel sad after a breakup, or when someone close to you dies. It’s also perfectly normal to feel down in the dumps or disappointed in yourself for not making the cut for a sports team or not passing a class in school. However, people are usually able to deal with their feelings and move past their sadness with the support from family and friends, and a little time.

Depression, on the other hand, affects a person’s feelings, behaviors, and thoughts over a long period of time. Someone who is depressed experiences negative feelings and sometimes physical symptoms for at least two weeks. Not everyone has the same symptoms of depression, because depression can affect people differently. Some people may not even know they’re depressed, but people close to them might sense there is something wrong. Depression in teens often looks different from depression in adults. Teens who are struggling emotionally may suddenly get poor grades, miss a lot of school, withdraw from their friends, have low self-esteem, and feel worthless. These behaviors may lead to adults assuming that a teen is a trouble-maker or has a bad attitude when in fact they’re actually depressed.

No one knows for sure what causes depression, but certain factors put a person at risk, such as: a family history of depression, experiencing a major loss or crisis, poor self-esteem, or feeling alone. There are many circumstances that can lead to feelings
of depression.

The bottom line is this; if you or someone you know feels sad for over two weeks, it’s important to find out why. There are people who care, and treatment for depression is available. A trusted adult such as a parent, guardian, teacher, guidance counselor, health care provider or clergy person can help you, a friend, or a family member find the right treatment.