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Teenage Depression

             Teenage depression is a growing problem in today's society and is often a major contributing factor for a multitude of adolescent problems. The statistics about teenage runaways, alcoholism, drug problems, pregnancy, eating disorders, and suicide are alarming. Even more startling are the individual stories behind these statistics because the young people involved come from all communities, all economic levels, all home situations-anyone's family. The common link is often depression. For the individuals experiencing this crisis, the statistics become relatively meaningless. The difficult passage into adolescence and early adulthood can leave lasting scars on the lives and psyches of an entire generation of young men and women. There is growing realization that teenage depression can be life- changing, even life-threatening. (McCoy 21) Depression is a murky pool of feelings and actions scientists have been trying to understand since the days of Hippocrates, who called it a "black bile." It has been called "the common cold of mental illness and, like the cold, it's difficult to quantify." (Arbetter 1) If feelings of great sadness or agitation last for much more than two weeks, it may be depression. For a long time, people who were feeling depressed were told to "snap out of it." According to a study done by National Institute of Mental Health, half of all Americans still view depression as a personal weakness or character flaw. Depression, however, is considered a medical disorder and can affect thoughts, feelings, physical health, and behaviors. It interferes with daily life such as school, friends, and family. "Clinical depression is the most incapacitating of all chronic conditions in terms of social functioning." (Salmans 11-12) Teenagers have always been vulnerable to depression for a variety of reasons. It's a confusing time of life because a teen's body is changing along with their relationships.

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