Depression: a 'brain-based medical condition'

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princ_photo_of_woman_in_counselingIn the wake of a young man's suicide, a California newspaper published this article about recognizing signs of depression in adolescents. Here are some key takeaways from the article, according to Dr. Shashank V. Joshi of Stanford University:

  • Depression can affect up to 25 percent of young people before they finish their teen years.
  • Many teens will be reluctant to talk about depression, so it's important to be proactive by reaching out to a teen who you think may be struggling.
  • Depression is a "brain-based medical condition." It is caused by a combination of biological and environment factors, but is primarily rooted in brain chemistry.
  • Educating yourself on depression will help you to be a stronger source of support.
  • A few signs to look for include a lack of interest in once fun activities, withdrawal from friends, and appearing to be in a consistently sad mood.
  • For most mild cases of depression, talk therapy alone can be an effective form of treatment.
  • For severe cases, a combination of talk therapy and medication is typically necessary.

Above all, being empathetic toward teens living with depression and offering them support is the most important piece of helping them. If you make it clear that you will do whatever you can to help them, they will be more receptive of help and will be closer to wellness.

 

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