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Teenage depression is a growing problem in todays 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-anyones 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 McCoy 21 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 its 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 Its a confusing time of life because a teens body is changing along with their relationships Teenagers constantly vacillate between strivings for independence from family
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