Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Are You Depressed?

Depression is very common but in varying degrees. It's hard especially in an Asian perspective that makes it difficult to deal with emotions. But look around you, 1 in 5 adolescents have depression even if they look happy and seem to have everything going for them.

"Clinical depression affects between 1-3% of young people at any one time. Prevalence of depression in adolescence increases with increasing age and by age 18 up to 24% of adolescents will have had a major depression. Females have a higher prevalence than males.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), a major depressive disorder is indicated if at least five of the following symptoms are present during the same 2-week period most of the day, nearly every day; and at least one of the symptoms is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in activities; or in the case of adolescents, irritability:
• Depressed or irritable mood; persistent sadness
• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in most activities
• Significant change in weight or appetite
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Psychomotor agitation or retardation
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
• Impaired ability to think, concentrate or make decisions, deterioration in usual level of functioning (eg., school grades, sports, social activities);
• Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempt

(Wakefield, T. (2001) The status of adolescent mental health in Australia, in The Missing Link - Adolescent mental health in general practice. Alpha Biomedical Communications. Darlinghurst. NSW.)(Martin, G. (2001) Management of depression and suicide in general practice, in The Missing Link - Adolescent mental health in general practice. Alpha Biomedical Communications. Darlinghurst. NSW.)(NHMRC (1997) 'Depression in Young People. A Guide for General Practitioner's' March. p.3) "

So it's very common and if you worry too much it's good to seek some help, nothing to be ashamed about as it is part of being human.

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