Depression is a serious negative mental illness wherein youconstantly or for the most part of the week, you feel feeling of sadness,hopelessness, worthlessness and other negative emotions. According to theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (4th ed., textrevised), five to nine symptoms must be present for at least two weeks for aperson to become diagnosed with depression. These nine symptoms includepersistent depressed mood for the most part of the day or week, loss of interestin the activities you once considered fun, difficulty in sleeping, lethargy oragitation, loss or increase in weight and appetite, loss of energy, negativeself-concept and feeling of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating,and recurrent thoughts of death and suicide. The body may also experiencephysical conditions due to depression. As studied by Son (2000), depressionaffects 5- 8% of adolescents. And over the last fifty years, the rate of peoplewith depression has steadily increased, especially among adolescents (Davisonand Neale, 2001).
This might be due to the advancement of the psychology fieldand the awareness of modern society to the ill effects of mentalillnesses. Recognizing riskfactors for adolescent depression is the best way to prevent or treatdepression at its early stages, in this way the person at risk can get thetreatment and support that she needs. Some people are more prone to depressiondue to biomedical risk factors such as genetics. A family history of depressionmeans that you are more likely to experience depression than families withoutsuch history. Adolescents with chronic illnesses are also at risk fordepression; since their condition prevents them from doing things that healthypeople are allowed. Some of them also have to go through constant treatments orsurgeries which robs them of having a normal childhood. The hormonal changes inpuberty can also cause depression, especially in girls. Puberty is a time wherehormonal changes cause physical change like acne, enlargement of the breast,widening of the hips, developing body hair and menstruation for girls.
Forboys, changes like acne, developing body hair and deepening of the voicehappens. All of these changes may cause adolescents to have a low self-esteemand negative body image. Psychological factorsalso put adolescents at risk for depression. Adolescents who have experiencedneglect and physical, emotional or sexual abuse are at a higher risk fordeveloping depression (Bhatia & Bhatia, 2007). Peer pressure, low academicperformance, and poverty are psychosocial risk factors for depression. The lossof a loved one, or having difficult parental or romantic relationships can alsotrigger depression (Bhatia & Bhatia, 2007). Adolescents whose parents have depressionhave higher chances to develop depression.
Parents who abuse drugs or alcoholput their adolescent children at risk for depression (Feldman, 2008). As statedby Son (2000) in his study, adolescents who feel unpopular, have few closefriends, experience rejection, have to move to another place to live, andchange to a new school can have an impact on adolescent depression. Cognitive factors alsohave an impact on adolescent depression. Adolescents who have a negative viewin life are associated with low self-esteem and feeling of worthless andundesirable. Accordingto Jenny Kennard (n.d), there are three categories of depression namely mild,moderate and severe.
From his article, he stated “In order to be formallydiagnosed with depression at least one of a possible two core symptoms must beseen. The first of these is a persistent low mood and feelings of sadness, withor without weepiness. The second is motivational, specifically a marked lack ofinterest in previously pleasurable activities.
Clustered around these two coresymptoms are a further seven related symptoms relating to: sleep pattern disturbances, change in appetite, tiredness,sluggish movements or agitation difficulty in concentrating or solving simpleeveryday problems, and feelings of guilt and/or worthless”. He further discussed thedifferences between each categories from its symptoms. In mild depression,Kennard stated that at least one of the core symptoms is present along with nomore than 4 of the other related symptoms are present.
Additionally, peoplewith mild depression can get by without medication and in due time the symptomswill die down. In moderatedepression, he stated that both core symptoms may be present along with morethan 4 of the related symptoms. He further discussed that this level ofdepression may affect the daily life of the person more so than with a mildcase. In addition, people with moderate depression tend to exhibit theirfeelings with their actions and are “adept at masking their feelings whichsimply acts to delay much needed treatment”. In severe depression,Kennard wrote that both core symptoms are present together with all otherrelated symptoms.
Furthermore, the daily functions of people with severedepression ceases beyond the mostrudimentary activities and would sometimes experience constant “psychotic featureslike delusion and hallucinations involving themes of depression involvingdeath, disease, guilt, or some sense of deserved punishment”.