The National Institute for Mental Health states that 1.8 million teens under the age of 18 suffer from depression. However, centuries ago people did not believe that teens could experience depression. Most people felt that when teens were unhappy they were just going through the awkward teenage years. The truth is many teens do develop depression. Our society is just recently developing a better understanding of this illness, its different forms, the causes, and some of the possible solutions. Complete help for those touched by this illness can only come when our society has a better understanding and compassion for the teens struck by depression. .
Depression is not only a mood state; it is also a medical illness. When suffering from depression most, if not all, aspects of the individual's life are impaired. Completing a simple task can seem overwhelmingly complicated and stressful. In many cases a teen's depression can be mistaken for puberty or vice versa. Puberty can, in fact, cause a person's body to create sudden onset depression. This fact alone is one of the major reasons why research on teen depression was not conducted ealier. However, the effects that this illness has over one's life should be cause enough to attempt to find more answers and solutions. When dealing with this illness a teen can feel worthless and incapable of tasks. There is a range of severities for this illness, but most teens fall into one of three categories minor, major, and manic depression.
Minor depression is defined as a mood disturbance of at least two weeks duration, with between two and five symptoms of depression, including depressed mood, diminished interest, weight change, sleep disturbance, psychomotor changes, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, poor concentration, and recurrent thoughts of death. Minor depression is the simplest and also the most common form of depression in teens. It is also known as Dysthymia.