Uploaded by Syniah Moody-Mitchell

Expository Essay

Depressive episodes among adolescents have reached a high over the last few years.
Many may view depression among adolescents as irrelevant because adolescents are not to be
taken seriously in the eyes of society. Those who believe depression among adolescents is a
serious matter have different approaches to the issue. Some believe medication is the only
solution for depressive episodes among teens, and some believe that medication is too dangerous
for adolescents to take. Others might say it’s a necessity, and others say it’s not. Those who side
with medical treatment might argue that the expenses should be lowered or even eliminat
that “… although antipsychotic drugs have to be presented with caution, they can be used
safely when monitored by health professionals and, when necessary, accompanied by other
medicines to counteract some of their side effects” (Children and Antipsychotic Drugs). The
supporters believe that the medication works against the behaviors, not with them. According to
Mark Sandrolini, “In many ways, the use of the term ‘antipsychotic’ is a misnomer. These
rage as well as anxiety and agitation” (Children and Antipsychotic Drugs). Though the
supporters’ view of medication for disorders among children is effective and unharmful their
opponents suggest otherwise.
Those against medication for children with disorders argue that the medication has severe
side effects. “According to the New York Times, 1,207 children taking the drug Risperdal (the
brand name of risperidone) between 1993 and March 2008 had serious health problems, and 31
of those children died” (Children and Antipsychotic Drugs). Those against medication also argue
that “… the lack of research about the long- term effects of antipsychotics on the still-developing
brains and bodies of children as evidence that more caution is needed in prescribing such
powerful drugs. Children cannot simply be regarded by as ‘mini adults’ who will experience side
effects similar to those of adults over the course of a drug treatment…” (Children and
Antipsychotic Drugs). Finally, they believe that medication for disorders is usually prescribed to
minorities in society. The opposers see this as “… worrisome that since a much higher
percentage of children enrolled in Medicaid receive those drugs compared with their privately
insured counterparts, children on Medicaid will disproportionately exposed to the potentially
dangerous side effects of antipsychotics” (Children and Antipsychotic Drugs). Bruce Levine says
“… it appears that the tension produced by misbehaving poor American kids creates even a
greater likelihood that they will be placed on the heavy-hitter chill pills, the antipsychotics”
(Children and Antipsychotic Drugs). The pill has created controversy among how the treatment
should be given to adolescents and/or children dealing with these disorders, but other reasons
have as well.
Besides discussing whether medical treatment is dangerous or not, it is often discussed
whether it is needed or not. Supporters argue that medical help is a necessity for adolescents who
suffer from these depressive episodes. Paul Keedwell, a psychiatrist at King’s College in
London, states depression disorders left untreated “… can progress from a loss of abstract
thinking, poor motivation, self-neglect to alcoholism, violent assault and suicide” (Psychiatry 45). He also explains that those who are receiving medical treatment for depression “can live a
happy and productive life” (5). Although some believe that medical treatment is the ultimate
need for adolescents suffering from medical treatment, some believe that it is not needed.
The opposers against medication did not state that medical treatment is hazardous to
adolescents, but it’s unnecessary because of the natural ways to reduce depression, and when
quitting the medical treatment can cause withdrawal symptoms as if it were an addictive drug. In
today’s society, people are using natural ways of life as a trend. This trend has made its way to
the issue of depression among adolescents. Supporters of naturally curing depression use the
Mediterranean diet and weight training for example. The Mediterranean diet includes a surplus
of fish, vegetables, fruit, cereals, legumes, and olive oil. Those foods are to be told “… as a way
to prevent depression…” (Morrison). These supporters know that some adolescents who are
depressed won’t have an appetite let alone stick to a diet, but the diet at hand is far more useful
than medication. Along with the diet can come physical activity to reduce the symptoms
supporters say. “Lifting weights might also lift moods, according to an important review of
studies about strength training and depression. It finds resistance exercise often substantially
reduces people’s gloom, no matter how melancholy they feel at first, or how often -or seldom –
they actually get to the gym and lift” (Reynolds). Supporters and researchers have found that
“resistance training consistently reduced the symptoms of depression, whether someone was
formally depressed at the start of the study or not. In other words, if people began the study with
depression, they usually felt better after taking up weight training” (Reynolds). The supporters
believe that with the proper diet and exercise depression among teens will drop dramatically,
reducing the use of medication which acts as if it were an addictive, illegal drug.
Medication, such as antidepressants, are said to be extremely difficult to quit by people
who oppose the drug and/or who was taking it before quitting. Victoria Toline of Tacoma,
Washington says that for nine months she was dealing with “… dizziness, the confusion, the
fatigue, all the symptoms of withdrawal” (Carey, Gebeloff). Researchers state that those who the
medication for long- term use “… try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms
they were never warned about” (Carey, Gebeloff). With the withdrawal symptoms and harmful
effects of medication, opposers of the drug fear that there is something else that might affect
those depending on medical treatment.
Although the two main sides of the arguments disagree with an abundance of things there
is one thing that they can agree on: medical treatment is astoundingly expensive. According to
research “Among adolescents with past year MDE, those with no health insurance coverage were
much likely thank those with Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program or private health
insurance to have received treatment” (Major Depressive Episode and Treatment Among
Adolescents 2). Among the problems with adolescents suffering depression comes the search for
the actual medical treatment and “Finding a provider who takes your insurance…” (Adams).
Both supporters and opposers deem that the expenses of adolescents who need the treatment as
unethical and that needs to change.
Finally, the root of this issue, the causes of depression among adolescents. Some people
say depression is in “all in the head” for adolescents because their young and are expected to not
worry about anything. The three main questions asked, however, are: Is depression among
adolescents hereditary/genetic? Is it environmental? Or is it both environmental and hereditary?
Those who say that depression is genetic simply say there is a family history of depression.
“Research conducted in the fields of psychiatry, behavioral science, neuroscience, biology, and
genetics, including studies of twins, lead scientists to believe that the risk of developing mental
illness increases if another family member is similarly affected, suggesting a hereditary
component” (Lewis). For those who believe that environmental causes say that it’s not the literal
environment, but what teens are exposed to in this generation. For example, social media. Those
who support this view say social media is the main reason why teens are severely depressed
and/or attempting to commit suicide today. Social media is said to be the main cause of
cyberbullying causing the increase of depressed adolescents. “Cyberbullying is often painted as a
uniquely dangerous threat. Yet this is contradicted by a recent study of over 100,000 English
teens, which found there were more incidences of face-to-face bullying than internet abuse, and
the former was much more detrimental to victims' happiness” (Wilson). Social media is not only
the environmental cause of depression, but traditional bullying is also said to be one. “‘[Social
media] is a new channel but it's nothing different from traditional bullying," says Andrew
Przybylski at the University of Oxford, who took part in the research. He thinks parents and
teachers are more nervous of bullying involving social media simply because they didn't grow up
with it…” (Wilson). These environmental causes are said to be the cause of the increase in teen
depression and suicide reaching “…nearly 70 per cent between 2011 and 2014...” (Wilson).
Besides those who solely side with genetics or environmental cause of depression among
adolescents, there are those say that both are the root of depression among the younger
Those who say that both the environment and genetics are the cause of depression say
that the two factors interact with each other. “Moreover, genetics research suggests that
vulnerability to depression results from the influence of multiple genes acting together with
environmental factors. The hormonal system that regulates the body's response to stress also is
overactive in many depressed people” (Lewis). To put into simpler terms environmental causes
activate and stimulate the genes causing one to become depressed over time. With this
combination, teen depression is said to increase even more if not stop. The question at hand is
how will one stop this epidemic?
After analyzing the perspectives and arguments on adolescent depression it is evident that
these perspectives are very distinct and contrasting. People say that medical treatment is the best
option for adolescents, others say it isn’t. Some say medical treatment may not be a necessity at
all. Even the root of the issue has conflicting arguments, but the point of it all is adolescent
depression is on the rise, and despite the perspectives on this issue it has one common goal: to
put an end to it.