Depression is a common medical
illness that negatively affects the way a person feels, the way they act and
the way they think. Having a depressive episode usually lasts for a two-week
time period or longer. It results in the loss of interest in certain
activities, and can reflect a change in functioning of your daily routine. There
are many different things that can cause depression such as; family disputes,
death of a loved one, pressure from peers, academic pressure to maintain good
grades, abuse/trauma, low self-esteem, substance abuse, chronic illness, etc. Over
1.4 million teenagers have been surveyed during the years 2012-2013, displaying
that there had been a sudden increase of teens who have experienced symptoms of
depression. These depressive symptoms have continued to increase over the past
few years, making today’s youth significantly more depressed than years before.

The American Psychological
Association has determined that teens may deal with higher levels of stress
than adults. With the impact of school pressure, and the emotional pressure in
relationships amongst these teens, increases their stress levels and causes
depressive tendencies among the youth. Girls are more likely to experience
depression and have higher stress levels than boys. One of the main reasons for
this is usually linked to hormonal differences. Women experience more
fluctuation in their hormone levels compared to men, from a variety of things
such as; puberty, prior to menstruation or issues with their menstrual cycle,
and pregnancy. The fluctuation in their hormone levels can be closely related with
depressive symptoms. Women have a higher likelihood of developing depression
due to their genetic differences than men. For example, females have two X
chromosomes and if one were to receive a depressive trait that will most likely
become the dominant trait increasing their chance of having depression, compared
to men who only have one X chromosome. Women also tend to be more ruminative,
meaning they overthink in situations, where as the initial reaction of men tend
to be angry and frustrated. Teen girls are affected by cyber bullying and peer
pressure more often than boys their age. Girls are very particular on their
looks and can get discouraged very easily by cyber bullies online, increasing
their risk of falling into a depressive episode.

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Through examining trends in Medical
Depressive Episodes, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration data
showed an overall increase between the years 2014 and 2015 for girls, with MDEs
generally increasing between the ages of 12 and 17. The 2014 data displayed a
continuous increase in the prevalence of MDEs as children got older, 2015 data
showed a leap in depressive episodes in girls ages 15 to 16 years old and in
boys of the age 16. Due to the increase in depression amongst teens, the drug
use in the past year has spiked a ton. Among youth experiencing a major
depressive episode, there has been an increase in the use of cocaine,
marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, sedatives, inhalants, pain relievers, stimulants
and more.

Depression is an issue that has
continued to affect teenagers all over the world, and has taken a dark turn in
Holden Caufield’s life in the novel, The Catcher In The Rye. He falls into some
depressive episodes and struggles with how to overcome them. For example, he is
constantly judging others to uplift his spirits about his own self-worth. He
says that adults are phony, he judges Ackley on his physical appearance and he
calls Stradlater a secret slob. He fails to express his true feelings about
Jane, when Stradlater takes her out on a date. He gets upset over the thought
of losing his innocence, yet struggles with change and growing up. He suffers
the loss of his deceased brother Allie, and does not communicate well with his
parents. Holden is constantly turning to alcohol and cigarettes as a way to get
his mind off of his own issues. He struggles to express his feelings to others,
and keeps it bottled up inside. He drinks and smokes instead of meals
malnourishing him of proper nutrients, he tries to receive sexual pleasure in
hopes of taking his mind off of things but fails to proceed with the plan. The
real reason he is struggling is because he has no one to talk to, no one he
feels comfortable expressing himself to.

As family, or friends, it is
critical to seek signs of depression amongst those that are close around us.
Less than thirty-three percent of teens get help, yet eighty percent of them can
be treated successfully. There are many support systems put in place to help
those suffering, and treat them before any poor decisions are made. In Canada, there
are different telephone lines and programs instilled to help those who have fallen
into a depressive episode. Some programs in Canada that can treat people of all
ages include; CMHA, Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Kids Help Phone and the
crisis line, Co-Dependants Anonymous, Anxiety Online, Psychosocial
Rehabilitations, etc. 


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