Just a Mood . . . or Real Depression?

How Do You Really Feel? Check off the ones that fit you.
Top of Form 1
You feel sad a lot, and it doesn't go away.
You feel guilty; you think that you're no good; you have no confidence.
You lose interest in ordinary pleasures like music, sports, friends, or having fun.
Most of the time you'd rather be left alone.
You feel restless or tired most of the time.
You're a nonstop partier, constantly moving around.
You get unrealistic ideas about the great things you're going to do...things you never
really could do.
Thoughts just go racing through your head.
You think about death a lot, or thoughts about suicide pop into your head.
You seem to take pleasure in extremely dangerous activities, like reckless and
highspeed driving.
Bottom of Form 1
These are the warning signs of medical illnesses known as depression and manic
depression. To see what you should do if you have some of the warning signs, add up
the number of boxes you checked.
You checked either of the last two boxes. If the
last two boxes describe your feelings, you should seek help immediately.
You checked four boxes. Or more than five?
You're having a tough time and may be suffering from depression or manic depression.
It's important for you to find an adult you can trust and tell them what's on your mind.
Show them this brochure. If the first adult you talk to can't (or won't) help, find someone
who will. It's hard to do, but very important.
You checked three boxes. When you get a
chance, it would be a good idea to talk to a friend, especially an adult who knows how
to listen to you and discuss things.
You checked one or two boxes. Guess what?
You're fine. Everybody has some problems.
Kinds of Depression
Bad Mood--frustrations that are temporary.
Mild Depression--being "bummed." You feel bad but can still enjoy family and friends
and look forward to activities.
Situational or Reactive Depression--You may feel depressed because you are
expressing a normal (and healthy) sadness about some loss, or a major change in your
life. If this kind of depression lasts more than a couple of weeks, it's important to talk to
a medical professional or an adult whose advice means a lot to you. You'll be surprised
at how much just talking about your feelings will help you get over situational
Major Depression--Major depressions are wholebody illnesses which affect a person's
eating and sleeping patterns, as well as his/her energy levels. Moods and the ability to
think clearly are also affected. These illnesses are painful and the person experiencing
them usually looks for ways to escape. Often the person withdraws from other people.
People of all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes suffer from depression. For
teenagers, symptoms appear most often between ages 14 and 18. About 10% of them
will experience some form of major depression at some time. The illness strikes about
15% of all adults.
Major depression is a medical illness. To fit a medical diagnosis of major depression, a
person must have a clearly specified cluster of symptoms and the symptoms must have
lasted longer than two weeks. The illness may be brought on by problems or stress in a
person's life, but it is rooted in the biology and chemistry of the brain. Sometimes these
depressions seem to center on no particular event in a person's life, but they impact
everything he/she thinks, says and does.
The two main kinds of major depression are:
Unipolar depression. Symptoms include feeling sad most of the time, persistent
feelings of hopelessness, difficulty with concentration, thoughts of death, and low self
Manic depression. (also called bipolar disorder). Symptoms include racing thoughts,
grandiose yet unrealistic plans and ideas, feeling high and having less need for sleep. A
manic or speededup phase will be followed by a phase of depression. Mania and
depression might then alternate in a cycle.
Major Depression or Situational Depression?
It is often difficult to know the difference between situational and major depression.
Why? Mainly because the inward suffering associated with depression in teens is
masked by conduct that adults don't generally regard as depressive behavior. Even
though depression is generally a feeling of sadness or helplessness, someone may act
angry, combative, or even silly, just to cover up their depression. A professional can
help teens sort out symptoms of either situational or major depression.
If You Show the Warning Signs of Depressive Illness
Be your own best friend. Think about how you would react to a friend who needed help.
Find someone you can