What is depression?
- The signs and symptoms of depression may be less visible than a physical illness such as a broken leg.
- It may be difficult to disentangle symptoms which are seen as ‘normal’ teenage behaviours, from those which may be indicative of a more serious problem.
- A young person may go to great lengths to hide their difficulties and be very reluctant to talk to other people about how they are feeling.
- Feeling low or unhappy for a prolonged period of time. This is different from the more ‘normal’ ups and downs experienced by teenagers in response to everyday life events, for example, falling out with peers, difficulties at school, family arguments.
- Irritable mood is a less commonly known sign of depression. This may just be a part of growing up, but if a young person appears irritable about lots of different things over a period of time, it may also be an indication of depression.
- The young person needs to be experiencing at least one ‘core’ symptom and four or more further symptoms.
- They need to have experienced these symptoms for at least two weeks (nearly every day).
- The symptoms are causing significant distress or interfering significantly in different areas of the young person’s life.
A note about anxietyDepression can often occur alongside an anxiety disorder. Whilst anxiety is not the focus of this online course, it’s important to be aware of the main anxiety disorders in order to think about whether these may be an issue too. You can find out more information about anxiety commonly seen in children and young people here.Remember – listen to your instincts. If you’re concerned that something is not right, don’t be afraid to voice this and seek help.
Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People
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