Depression and Anxiety: Teen Edition

Ella Kohlman 

                  Depression and Anxiety: Teenage Edition

Personal Statement: I am working on decreasing anxiety, depression, and suicide
with in teenagers. This project is important to me personally because being at a
high school I know a lot of people with depression or anxiety or both. I know a lot
of people with different levels of these mental illnesses and I think we need to
destigmatize these mental illnesses so all teens can get the help they need. 
I'm sure most teenagers know at least one person who is depressed or has anxiety 
even if they don't realize it.

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder:                Symptoms of anxiety:
  1. Depressed mood (hopeless feeling)                 Fear
  2. Less pleasure in activities                       Panic
  3. Large change in weight (loss or gain)             Sleep issues
  4. Insomnia or hypersomnia                           Heart palpitations
  5. Psychomotor agitation                             Nausea
  6. Loss of energy                                    Tense muscles
  7. Excess guilt
  8. Struggle to concentrate
  9. Thoughts of death
Four types of influences on depression:
  1. Neurobiology Influences:
    1. Genetic (runs in family)
    2. Lack of sleep
  2. Behavioral influences:
    1. Less energy
    2. Not doing school work or other responsibilities
    3.  Irritated easily
  3. Social and cultural influences:
    1.  Lack of equality
    2.  Lack of social connection
  4. Psychological Influences:
    1. Numb to emotions
    2. No longer happy by the things that used to make them happy
    3. Loss of memory
    4. Loss of concentration
    5. Feeling of hopelessness
    6. Feeling of guilt
    7. No confidence
    8. Suicidal thoughts
Anxiety in words:

Fear, unease, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, tiredness, hyperventilation, 
chest pain, nightmares, anticipation, stomach upset.

Factors of anxiety:

Stress from work, school, and social life.

Genetics or an alteration in the brain.

The way someone was raised including the socioeconomic background can affect 
their anxiety.


“There’s just so much going on in my mind, sometimes I can’t keep up 
with what’s going around me” 

“The fact that many people don’t recognize or have patience for your 
illness only makes everything worse” 

"The thing about an anxiety disorder is that you know it is stupid. You know 
with all your heart that it wasn't a big deal and that it should roll off of you. 
But that is where the disorder kicks in. Suddenly the small thing is very big and 
it keeps growing in your head, flooding your chest, and trying to escape from under 
your skin. You know with all of your heart that you're being ridiculous and you 
hate every minute of it."

“Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.”

I interviewed Elliot Levin, a psychotherapist with his own practice. He focuses mainly

on treating kids with parents going through a divorce.He deals a lot with depression

and anxiety and he shared information about the different variations and how they affect

people’s daily life. He also shared that depending on how bad of a case you have many

people are able to hide their mental illnesses. Something that he told me was that it will

never really go away, but you can find ways to cope and to get to a better state then you are at.

He thinks one of the best parts of his job is that he gets to help people feel better every day. They

work on problems with families that are having problems and the stress put on children when

going through a divorce or custody case. I learned that mental illnesses really exist everywhere

and they can both come from being born with a gene or they can come from a situation. Some

are easier to treat than others. Usually the more specific types are easier, like if you are depressed

or anxious about a specific thing then it is easier to treat.


                                                         Interview with Eliot Levine

  1. Do you think depression is something that your patients are born with or are
     something that can be acquired over time? 
  • Both. There are studies that indicate a gene that would make some people be born
     depressed. It is not provable but it’s a theory. But that's only some people.
     A majority are not born with depression. They could be born with a personality 
    trait that makes it harder for them. People are depressed because circumstances 
    in their life have made them sad. Depression is just the ultimate sadness. It's 
    where you can't see future. You have no hope. You would think my life sucks and 
    it's never getting better constantly. In serious cases it can be debilitating 
    to where you can't get out of bed, and you can't move. All the way to being
    paralyzed where they physically can't make their bodies move.
  1.   How might depression and anxiety affect someone's everyday activities? 
  • If depressed it is hard to see any reason to be active or do anything because 
    you are so sad all the time. If anxious you are always afraid. Always thinking 
    you can't do this or this won't work. They spend too much time worrying about 
    problem that they never actually get to do activity. Depression is completely 
    different because you can't see the point whereas anxiety is where you are 
    always overthinking.
  1.   How do you treat depression and anxiety? and does it differ for each patient?
  • Yeah it differs. They are depressed about different things and depressed to
     different degrees. It's the same with anxiety. If they are seriously depressed
     they need medicine, as well as therapy to talk about their feelings. They use 
    therapy to find a way to feel better. Someone with tremendous anxiety will need 
    medicine, and also therapy. Depending on the level sometimes people need 
    medicine and therapy sometimes they do not need medicine. They usually need to 
    be talking through problems in therapy. Not everyone needs pills. Depression 
    levels may depend on a specific situation. For example someone could be 
    depressed for years because they were always told they were bad. In this 
    situation it needs to be taken more seriously to help get the idea that they 
    are bad out of their mind. This is the same with anxiety. If have phobia of 
    airplane can be serious problem, but it is also very specific. If someone can't 
    hold job or stay in relationship and they feel that can't get everything perfect 
    it needs a much different treatment. It is more long-term.
  1.  Does the stigma behind being depressed or having anxiety affect your patients? In what ways?
  • It depends on how public it is. Some can hide pretty well. When serious then it 
    becomes a stigma, because they find excuses not to do anything because they are 
    too depressed or anxious. Sooner or later someone finds out something wrong. No 
    one knows about their mental illness for some people because they are faking it. 
    Sometime they go to parties to hide it. He had a patient that was tremulously 
    anxious because she had to have everything perfect. No mistakes or she would freak 
    out. She was a very smart girl with straight As, but if it wasn’t a perfect score 
    she would argue with the teacher until the teacher would give in. when she wasn’t 
    successful she had to be hospitalized.
  1.  Does depression differ between the ages?
  • You can be depressed at any age. The younger are usually less depressed and more 
    sad. Different ages are depressed about different things. When middle aged it 
    comes from not being where you want to be in life. Like wanting to have a better 
    job and make more money. When older it can come from not succeeding in the way you 
    wanted to. It's different. It's not better or worse. When young they might get 
    anxious about a test score and older might be about a job. It tends to become 
    worse if you don’t get help. They don’t get better by themselves. The will never 
    completely get better. Therapy is helping you cope. That basically all we can do 
    with our lives. Because we don't have control in life. Most things are beyond control.

Treatment for depression and anxiety:

Psychotherapy is a common way to treat depression and anxiety disorders.

Cognitive behavior therapy
  • talk therapy to identify thoughts that make you more depressed. 
    Works to change thoughts to think more rationally.
Interpersonal Therapy
  • Deals with personal relationships and finding ways to get along with others.
Behavior Therapy
  • Helps people change their attitudes towards behaviors.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
  • Helps stop your mind from going off on tangents

Antidepressants can also be used.  For anxiety Nerve pain medicine can also be used. A sixteen year old’s  story: She has pretty bad anxiety. She says she constantly feels that there is nothing she can do to fix her problems, like everything is going wrong. She knows everything is alright, but she struggles to wrap her brain around it. Having anxiety has made it hard for her to spend time with her friends and she constantly worries that she will have a panic attack at school. A story she told me was that once on her first day of sleep away camp she was so nervous and she was worrying that no one would like her. She felt like everything was going to go wrong even though she loves camp. All of this anxiety even caused her to throw up. Video about what Anxiety feels like:

How to help: Share this information with your community and encourage(without pushing) teenagers struggling with depression or anxiety to get treatment. Also make sure to support them and let them know you are there for them.

How to get help: 1-800-273-8255 : national suicide hotline 1-800-950-NAMI : national mental health hotline The website NAMI is a national mental health organization that has branches in each state. This website also shares information about mental illnesses. There should also be local organizations to call for each state. Also use self help when feeling really overwhelmed try a few destress exercises like deep breaths, going for a walk outside, yoga, or listening to calming music.

Survey :

Works Cited: “Beyondblue.” Beyondblue – Home, psychological-treatments-for-depression.

“Mental Health Treatments.” Mental Health America, 20 Aug. 2015,

Team, The MNT Editorial. “Treatments for Anxiety.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 12 Dec. 2017,

“What Are Anxiety Disorders?” WebMD, WebMD,

Share this project
  1. April 25, 2018 by Crawford Asman

    Hey Ella, I really liked your presentation! I also did depression and anxiety, which helped a lot when reading over the material that you provided. I thought that your video about what anxiety feels like and the images that you published were enlightening and gave a good understanding of what it felt like to live with those disorders.

    • April 29, 2018 by Ella.Kohlman

      Thanks! That’s exactly what I was going for with the video and images. One of my main goals with this project was to help others really empathize with teenagers that are suffering from depression and anxiety.

  2. April 26, 2018 by Ian Covel

    Hey Ella, I think your list of therapies is really inclusive and detailed. Could you point me to any resources that could give me more information about the types of therapy you included? I’m very interested in the difference in techniques. Thanks!

    • April 27, 2018 by Ella.Kohlman

      Hey Ian, really sorry my sources were there but they disappeared so I just added them back. The one called “Mental Health Treatments” is the one I found the information about the therapies on.

  3. April 27, 2018 by Alex Treisman

    Hi Ella! I loved how included statistics and details about depression and anxiety. Your infographic and interview are very detailed which makes it easy for me to understand your topic. I also think it is very helpful how you included detailed symptoms of depression and anxiety — these definitely need to be spread around more in order to lessen the stigma surrounding the issue of depression and anxiety.

    • April 29, 2018 by Ella.Kohlman

      Thanks! I’m really glad that you were able to understand what I was trying to do. I think stigma is such a large issue surrounding mental illnesses and I was hoping by really explain anxiety and depression I could portray how they should be treated as any physical disease and not as a bad thing. Also I do not want someone treated worse than another person because they have a mental illness.

  4. April 30, 2018 by DeAnna Riley

    Hey Ella!! I loved the amount of detail on your topic. The statistics and details included about depression and anxiety and the interview were huge parts of making your topic easy to understand and become fully aware of. I did anxiety in kids ages 6 – 12 and its sad to say that the symptoms these teenagers are going through could have began when they were just 6 years old and got worse over time. Great job!

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