What Is It?

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. This disorder is often times more present in females than males; however, anyone can have it.

What Does It Feel Like?

Depending on the severity of depression symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad or worthless
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increases fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks in order to be diagnosed with depression.

What Does It Look Like?

There are many forms of depression. Some of the most common forms for teens are:

  • Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood: Occurs in response to a new life event. These life events can be both positive and negative. For example, a positive life event could be starting college and a negative life event could be parental divorce.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Low grade, chronic or continuing form of depression that lasts for more than a year. Teens with this condition are often irritable, have low-self esteem and little energy.
  • Major (or Clinical) Depression: Most severe form of depression. Characterized by having 5 symptoms of depression with one being an overwhelming feeling of sadness.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):  Usually occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight and ends during the spring and summer months. This depression results in social withdrawal, increased sleep and weight gain. SAD generally reoccurs every winter.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Normally begins 7-10 days before the start of the female menstrual period and continues into the first few days of the period. This disorder causes severe emotional and behavioral symptoms such as sadness, anxiety, extreme moodiness, and irritability.

Did You Know?

  • The most recent data from 2017 shows that 29% of North Carolina high school teens (grades 9-12) report feeling sad for two or more weeks in a row.
  • About 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood

What Are Some Ways I Can Reduce My Depression?

  • Talk to someone you trust like a parent or school counselor
  • Try not to isolate yourself—it makes depression worse
  • Adopt health habits like exercising and eating right
  • Limit social media use
  • Get quality sleep

Take the Depression Quiz!

Remember, you are NEVER alone. If you or someone you know ever think about self harm or dying call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 right away or go to for more information and resources.


National Institute of Mental Health

American Psychiatric Association

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Health & Human Services


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