The National Institute for Mental Health states that 1.8 million teens under the age of 18 suffer from depression. However, due to the stigma surrounding mental illness in our society, many people often overlook symptoms and disregard it as awkward teenage years. The truth is teens are one of the most at risk for developing depression and other mental illnesses. Our society is just recently developing a better understanding of this illness as it presents in younger generations, and how to treat and manage it. In order to provide complete help for those suffering from depression and other mental illnesses, our society needs to work towards more understanding and compassion for teens affected. .
Depression though often perceived as a mood state; is actually a medical illness. Those suffering from depression are often impaired in many aspects of their life. Simple tasks can become overwhelmingly complicated and stressful. Often times, a teen's symptoms of depressions can be perceived as typical teenager moodiness. Puberty can, in fact, increase the likelihood of a person's body developing sudden onset depression. This fact alone is one of the main reasons depression in teens was not researched earlier. However, the severe effects that this illness has over one's life should be cause enough to attempt to find more answers and solutions. Teens can often feel worthless and a sense of despair when dealing with this illness. As teens brains are still growing and developing, these harmful perceptions of themselves can be especially dangerous. There are three general categories of severity for this illness: minor, major, and manic depression. The most common form of depression in teens is minor, which usually causes symptoms that are detectable and impact upon daily activities. These symptoms can include: poor concentration, sleep disturbance, fatigue, weight change, depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness, diminished interest, and recurring thoughts of death.