Depression present for at least two weeks for

Depression is a serious negative mental illness wherein you
constantly or for the most part of the week, you feel feeling of sadness,
hopelessness, worthlessness and other negative emotions. According to the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (4th ed., text
revised), five to nine symptoms must be present for at least two weeks for a
person to become diagnosed with depression. These nine symptoms include
persistent depressed mood for the most part of the day or week, loss of interest
in the activities you once considered fun, difficulty in sleeping, lethargy or
agitation, loss or increase in weight and appetite, loss of energy, negative
self-concept and feeling of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating,
and recurrent thoughts of death and suicide. The body may also experience
physical conditions due to depression. As studied by Son (2000), depression
affects 5- 8% of adolescents. And over the last fifty years, the rate of people
with depression has steadily increased, especially among adolescents (Davison
and Neale, 2001). This might be due to the advancement of the psychology field
and the awareness of modern society to the ill effects of mental
illnesses. 

     Recognizing risk
factors for adolescent depression is the best way to prevent or treat
depression at its early stages, in this way the person at risk can get the
treatment and support that she needs. Some people are more prone to depression
due to biomedical risk factors such as genetics. A family history of depression
means that you are more likely to experience depression than families without
such history. Adolescents with chronic illnesses are also at risk for
depression; since their condition prevents them from doing things that healthy
people are allowed. Some of them also have to go through constant treatments or
surgeries which robs them of having a normal childhood. The hormonal changes in
puberty can also cause depression, especially in girls. Puberty is a time where
hormonal changes cause physical change like acne, enlargement of the breast,
widening of the hips, developing body hair and menstruation for girls. For
boys, changes like acne, developing body hair and deepening of the voice
happens. All of these changes may cause adolescents to have a low self-esteem
and negative body image.

     Psychological factors
also put adolescents at risk for depression. Adolescents who have experienced
neglect and physical, emotional or sexual abuse are at a higher risk for
developing depression (Bhatia & Bhatia, 2007). Peer pressure, low academic
performance, and poverty are psychosocial risk factors for depression. The loss
of a loved one, or having difficult parental or romantic relationships can also
trigger depression (Bhatia & Bhatia, 2007). Adolescents whose parents have depression
have higher chances to develop depression. Parents who abuse drugs or alcohol
put their adolescent children at risk for depression (Feldman, 2008). As stated
by Son (2000) in his study, adolescents who feel unpopular, have few close
friends, experience rejection, have to move to another place to live, and
change to a new school can have an impact on adolescent depression.

     Cognitive factors also
have an impact on adolescent depression. Adolescents who have a negative view
in life are associated with low self-esteem and feeling of worthless and
undesirable.    

According
to Jenny Kennard (n.d), there are three categories of depression namely mild,
moderate and severe. From his article, he stated “In order to be formally
diagnosed with depression at least one of a possible two core symptoms must be
seen. The first of these is a persistent low mood and feelings of sadness, with
or without weepiness. The second is motivational, specifically a marked lack of
interest in previously pleasurable activities. Clustered around these two core
symptoms are a further seven related symptoms relating to: sleep pattern disturbances, change in appetite, tiredness,
sluggish movements or agitation difficulty in concentrating or solving simple
everyday problems, and feelings of guilt and/or worthless”. He further discussed the
differences between each categories from its symptoms.

     In mild depression,
Kennard stated that at least one of the core symptoms is present along with no
more than 4 of the other related symptoms are present. Additionally, people
with mild depression can get by without medication and in due time the symptoms
will die down.

     In moderate
depression, he stated that both core symptoms may be present along with more
than 4 of the related symptoms. He further discussed that this level of
depression may affect the daily life of the person more so than with a mild
case. In addition, people with moderate depression tend to exhibit their
feelings with their actions and are “adept at masking their feelings which
simply acts to delay much needed treatment”.

     In severe depression,
Kennard wrote that both core symptoms are present together with all other
related symptoms. Furthermore, the daily functions of people with severe
depression ceases beyond the most
rudimentary activities and would sometimes experience constant “psychotic features
like delusion and hallucinations involving themes of depression involving
death, disease, guilt, or some sense of deserved punishment”.

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