Debunking Myths On Teen Depression

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Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States among teens, with about 20 percent experiencing depression before reaching adulthood.

Often times, however, teenagers suffering from depression can be overlooked as just adolescents dealing with the hormonal, physical, social and emotional changes that we all face as we grow up.

But depression among teens is just as serious as depression among adults. It is important to debunk the misconceptions, or “myths” surrounding teen depression to allow them to get the help they need.

Common myths are:

Myth: “It’s normal for teenagers to be moody, teens don’t suffer from ‘real’ depression.”

FACT: Depression is more than just being moody and it can affect people at any age, including teenagers. A change in a person’s personality or daily activities for more than just a couple of days can be signs of depression.

Myth:“Teen depression is not a big problem in America.”

FACT: Research shows 10 to 15 percent of teens have some symptoms of depression at any one time. As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer depression for at least a year at a time, versus the approximate 5.3 percent of the general population who suffer from it. It has also been found that teens may suffer from more than one bout of depression while growing up.

Myth: “People who get help for depression are just crazy.”

FACT: People, including teenagers, who suffer from depression are often stigmatized and looked at in a negative light when they do seek help. A person who seeks help for depression is courageous. It takes a brave person to admit they need help and want to better themselves.

Myth: ”Prescription drug treatment for depression is too strong for teens. Its better if they get over it by themselves.”

FACT: Antidepressant medicines have shown to help teenagers recover from depression. When clinical depression is not treated, the symptoms can worsen and can lead to suicide. Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.

Myth: “People who get depressed are weak.”

FACT: While emotions and personality play a hand in depression, chemical imbalances in the brain and genetic predisposition can also be factors. Those factors are out of a person’s control.

Myth: “Adolescents will never talk to their parents about their feelings.”

FACT: While its true that many teenagers feel they can’t talk to their parents about their feelings, its important for parents to have an open line of communication with their teen. If parents make their teen feel comfortable to talk with them and feel as if they are not being judged, teens are more likely to open up and talk with their parents.

Opening up and expressing their feelings of depression can more likely lead a teen to receive depression treatment and on the road to recovery.

Sources: University Health System, Teen Help

 
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