Anxiety and depression in young people

There are many myths about anxiety and depression in young people, but the reality is that feeling sad, irritable or anxious most of the time is not a ‘normal’ part of adolescence.

We all feel anxious from time to time – it might be about exam results, a job interview or doing a presentation in front of a group of people. This kind of anxiety is a normal part of life. But, for some young people, these anxious feelings can happen for no apparent reason. Anxiety is more than feeling stressed – it’s a serious condition that makes day-to-day life more difficult. It will usually be far more intense than normal anxiety, and go on for weeks or months, affecting health and day-to-day activities. There are many types of anxiety and the symptoms vary.

Everybody feels sad, moody or miserable sometimes. Usually it’s a reaction to something, like fighting with family or friends, breaking up with someone, changing schools or moving. But some people feel sad or miserable most of the time, they stop enjoying life and lose interest in the activities and things they used to like. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope from day to day.

Many different factors can contribute to anxiety and depression in young people. When it happens, it’s no one’s fault. The important thing is that depression and anxiety are identified and treated early — if left untreated they can lead to underachieving at study or work, misuse of alcohol and drugs, and an increased risk of suicide.