Kids: When Sadness Becomes Depression

All kids at one time or another feel sad, down, or blue. It's a normal feeling for kids and adults. But when that sadness lingers--when it doesn't let up--when it saps your energy--when it interferes with your normal life--or, when it hangs over you like a cloud until it seems like you are never going to feel happy again--your sadness may actually be depression.

You've heard that word before, but have you ever wondered what it means and what to look for if you think either yourself or a friend is depressed. 

Depression is more than a sad feeling that stays with you for an hour or even a day or two. It is a medical condition that can make you feel unimportant to the people around you. It's a hopelessness that can affect your health, your mental attitude, and your relationships. It can cause you to lose sleep, not eat, get angry at even the smallest thing, cry all the time, keep you from focusing in class, make you overly tired, and no longer want to be with your friends or family.

So what can you do if you think your sadness is more than just sadness? First, realize you are not alone. There are over 17 million people in America who suffer from depression. For kids, it's almost 1 in every 33 who are affected according to Kids Health, and for teens it's 1 in every 8. So, you are definitely not alone. But here's the tricky part, you need to reach out. It may be one of the hardest things you do, but in many cases your life depends on it. If left untreated, depression can lead to drug or alcohol addiction and even suicide. 

So, if you think you are suffering from depression, talk to your parents, your school counselor, or your doctor. 

And remember, you are very, very special. There is no one like you in the entire world, and the world is a better place with you in it. 

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