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Depression Management for Adolescents
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What is depression?
Depression is a medical condition that causes feelings of sadness or hopelessness that do not go away. Depression may cause you to lose interest in things you used to enjoy. These feelings may interfere with your daily life.
What causes or increases my risk for depression?
Depression may be caused by changes in brain chemicals that affect your mood. Your risk for depression may be higher if you have any of the following:
- Stressful events such as the death of a loved one, abuse, parental divorce, or loss of a friendship
- Parents, siblings, or other family members with a history of depression
- An anxiety disorder, ADHD, or a learning disability
- Low self-esteem or poor relationships with others
- A medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, or migraine headaches
- Drug or alcohol abuse
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
- Appetite changes, or weight gain or loss
- Trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Feeling restless, irritable, or withdrawn
- Feeling worthless, hopeless, discouraged, or guilty
- Trouble concentrating, remembering things, doing daily tasks, or making decisions
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
How is depression diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may talk to you without your family in the room. He or she will ask about your symptoms and how long you have had them. He or she will ask if you have any family members with depression. Tell your healthcare provider about any stressful events in your life. He or she may ask about any other health conditions or medicines you take. Your healthcare provider will also talk to your family. He or she will ask them if they have noticed any signs of depression.
How is depression treated?
Your healthcare provider will help you and your family develop a plan for your treatment. He or she will ask you to make plans for coping at home, school, and around friends. The plan may include an emergency contact in case you feel like hurting yourself or others. It may also include regular exercise, good nutrition, and any of the following:
- Antidepressant medicine may be given to improve or balance your mood. You may need to take this medicine for several weeks before you begin to feel better. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects or problems you have with your medicine. The type or amount of medicine may need to be changed.
- Therapy can help you learn to cope with your thoughts and feelings. This can be done alone or in a group. It may also be done with family members. Therapy and antidepressant medicines are often used together to treat depression or prevent it from coming back later. Healthcare providers can help you find the kinds of medicine and therapy that work best for you.
How can I manage depression?
- Get regular physical activity. Try to get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day, such as going for a walk. Physical activity can improve depression and help you sleep better.
- Get enough sleep. Create a routine to help you relax before bed. You can listen to music, read, or do yoga. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Sleep is important for emotional health.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. A healthy meal plan is low in fat, salt, and added sugar. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about a meal plan that is right for you.
- Do not drink alcohol or use drugs. Alcohol and drugs can make your symptoms worse.
The following resources are available at any time to help you, if needed:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
- Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE)
- For a list of international numbers: https://save.org/find-help/international-resources/
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or ask someone to call if:
- You think about harming yourself or another person.
- You tell someone you want to harm yourself or another person.
When should I call my doctor or therapist?
- Your symptoms do not improve.
- You have new or worsening symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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