Sometimes what you are feeling is more than just a bad mood and you can become depressed. Here are some of the symptoms of depression:

  • Depressed mood or sadness most of the time (for what may seem like no reason)
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Inability to enjoy things that used to bring pleasure
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Irritability, anger, or anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Significant change in sleep patterns (inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get up in the morning)
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Aches and pains (even though nothing is physically wrong)
  • Pessimism and indifference (not caring about anything in the present or future)
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Other things that can be a sign of depression include playing truant, being in trouble at school, not able to concentrate in class. Some teenagers become self-critical and have low self esteem and start to cut themselves or develop an eating disorder. Other turn to alcohol and drugs and pretend this is the solution.

If you or a friend has 2 or more of these feelings constantly for more than 2 weeks you should see your doctor as you may be depressed and medical treatment and counselling will be able to help. The sooner you see your doctor the sooner he or she can help you to feel like you again.

What Causes Depression?
There is no single cause for depression and often it is a mixture of things which can lead to you becoming depressed. Factors known to lead to depression include:

  • Family and social environment
  • Life events: divorce, death, illness
  • Drugs and alcohol: these affect your brain (see drugs and alcohol)
  • Genetics: some depressive illnesses run in families. However just because a relative has a mental illness does NOT mean you will.
  • Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism can cause depression

Where to get help
If you think you or a friend is suffering from depression get help as soon as you can. Make an appointment to see your doctor as they can help you to get better and enjoy life again.

Friends and family, the school nurse, teachers, youth workers can all help you to make an appointment to see the doctor and they can come with you to support you and help you say things you find difficult.

The King's School 2008