Most young people experience ups and downs, especially during their teenage years, and will feel upset or down about certain things going on in their lives. But if sad, lonely or anxious feelings go on for longer periods of time to the extent they affect your everyday life, this could be depression.
Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression. One in five people become depressed at some point in their lives.
One in 10 young people aged 5-16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health problem – that is 3 in every class.
Depression can be caused by a reaction to something in your life such as abuse, family breakdown or bullying. Depression can run in the family and be caused by genetic factors, or it may be you’re under a lot of stress and feel you don’t have enough support.
Talking to someone you trust about how you feel is the best thing you can do, whether that is a parent, family member, friend or teacher. Other things you can do to help yourself include getting outside, taking regular exercise, doing things you enjoy and eating regularly.
If you think you need to see your doctor, they will assess what treatment you need depending on the severity of your depression. This could include talking therapy or medication.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of depression could include:
- Not wanting to do things you previously enjoyed
- Not wanting to see friends or avoiding situations
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Eating more or less than usual
- Feeling irritable, upset, sad or lonely
- Being self-critical
- Feeling hopeless
- Maybe wanting to self-harm
- Feeling tired and lacking energy
Your doctor may prescribe you medication, such as a type of anti-depressant called a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). Fluoxetine (Prozac) is an example of an SSRI.
Antidepressants can take a few weeks to get into your system and start working, and must be taken regularly. Antipressants work best if you continue to take them for at least a few months after you feel better to make sure that the depression doesn't return.
If you don’t feel any better, you must tell your doctor so he/she can offer you an alternative type of medication or therapy.
I was grumpy when I came off the medication but my weight went back to normal
Common medications for this condition