Depression, teen hormones, something else...?


Q: I'm a high school girl with symptoms similar to those of depression. However, I don't technically meet any of the requirements to be officially 'depressed'. I'm never sad for more than a few days at a time, and my episodes of extreme sadness occur randomly and are triggered by tiny, insignificant things. I come from a great home with loving parents, and I'm having no trouble with friends or school. I've never felt so 'blue' so quickly before, and I have these episodes more than once a week. I never feel any sort of guilt and rarely feel worthless; I'm usually just extremely miserable. When these episodes occur, I have trouble focusing on schoolwork. It doesn't seem that I could be suffering from depression, but before I go visit the doctor, any thoughts on what I might be suffering from (if not just teenage hormones)?

Symptoms:  Randomly-onset sadness, occasional suicidal thoughts, fatigue

A:   Hello
Thanks for using "Ask The Doctor" for posting your query.
The symptoms that you have mentioned suggest that you could be having a recurrent brief depression a diagnosis different from the major depressive disorder. Depression in young can present such atypically and do correspond with menstrual cycle as well. The mood swings that you are describing are occurring due to imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. The neurotransmitters like serotonine, nor-epinephrine, and dopamine. This condition can be corrected with the help of medicines such as fluoxetine, mirtazapine or venlafaxine. These medicines start showing improvement in 2-3 weeks and the illness requires a treatment of 6-8 months. During this period, try to do regular exercise and eat healthy food and try inculcating some hobby. If you averse to medicines, then cognitive behavioural therapy can help you in the treatment of depression. This is a specialized counselling technique mastered by clinical psychologists and is almost as effective as medicine.
You may meet your doctor and get these medicines prescribed, or you can request for a psychologist consult.

Do meet your doctor.
Hope this helps,
Wish you a good health.

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