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When you have depression it is beyond just "feeling sad". It is an overwhelming sense of sadness, a really deep feeling of despair that you can't shake no matter what you do, and even being angry at everyone and everything no matter what the circumstances are, or how good things may get. 

Depression can mess with your personality and take away the essence of who you truly are. Feeling excited about things is really difficult even when things are not that bad. Everything just seems Blah!

Depression is also much more complex than just sadness, it is an almost debilitating feeling. People who are suffering from depression feel like they are in a constant sad hole that they can't get out of. There are many contributing factors for depression. These feelings can range from having a family history of depression, to serious illness (known as clinical depression), to big life changes. These factors may be the reason why someone may feel constantly overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness.

Overall, depression is a medical illness, BUT the good news is...Depression is treatable!!!

Many of these factors are treatable. Whether it is a combination of other medication, therapy or support groups, there is help out there. By being aware of how you are feeling and what events have been happening around you, will help you and your doctor or trusted adult to understand what you are going through and be able to get the best help. 

NOTE: Children and youth may experience different symptoms from adults, but overall the symptoms are very similar, from having physical symptoms such as headaches and stomachaches, to experiencing severe sadness, irritability, and even pushing family and friends away. Youth may experience more radical mood changes, going in and out of depression and mood swings. Parents, and society at large may see these changes as "rebellious" and therefore some of the reasons that it's sometimes difficult to diagnose youth with depression. 

Depression, Drugs and Alcohol: the worst combination ever! 

Depression often pushes youth to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to relieve their frustrations and self-medicate themselves as a way to escape the feeling of hopelessness. 

BUT this is truly the worst thing one can do when they are depressed. 

What many don't know is that it can make the problem worse because scientific evidence has shown over and over that drugs and alcohol make depression worse by intensifying the feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Although people may think it makes them feel "normal", the damage that they can cause can make it even harder to recover from depression. Youth can have a more difficult treatment and high rate of relapse.



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TeenLink Hawaii (TLH) is a program of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii. 
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