Teenage depression is a growing problem in today's society and is often a major contributing factor for a .
multitude of adolescent problems. The statistics about teenage runaways, alcoholism, drug problems, .
pregnancy, eating disorders, and suicide are alarming. Even more startling are the individual stories behind .
these statistics because the young people involved come from all communities, all economic levels, all .
home situations-anyone's family. The common link is often depression. For the individuals experiencing .
this crisis, the statistics become relatively meaningless. The difficult passage into adolescence and early .
adulthood can leave lasting scars on the lives and psyches of an entire generation of young men and .
women. There is growing realization that teenage depression can be life- changing, even life-threatening. .
Depression is a murky pool of feelings and actions scientists have been trying to understand since .
the days of Hippocrates, who called it a "black bile." It has been called "the common cold of mental illness .
and, like the cold, it's difficult to quantify." (Arbetter 1) If feelings of great sadness or agitation last for .
much more than two weeks, it may be depression. For a long time, people who were feeling depressed .
were told to "snap out of it." According to a study done by National Institute of Mental Health, half of all .
Americans still view depression as a personal weakness or character flaw. Depression, however, is .
considered a medical disorder and can affect thoughts, feelings, physical health, and behaviors. It interferes .
with daily life such as school, friends, and family. "Clinical depression is the most incapacitating of all .
chronic conditions in terms of social functioning." (Salmans 11-12).
Teenagers have always been vulnerable to depression for a variety of reasons. It's a confusing time .
of life because a teen's body is changing along with their relationships.