The Leopard

How Depression Affects Your Academic Performance

Samantha Olsen

Samantha Olsen

Kesha Palmer, Opinion Writer

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Depression is an issue that affects many teens in America, however that being said depression is a subject that is hard to talk about in America. Mainly in schools, almost over 2.6 million American children and adolescents are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders every year. Many students are confused on how their mental disorders can affect their attention and overall their academic performance. Most schools don’t know how to comfortably address mental health issues. These ranges of schools include East High School, however what makes East different is that they believe they address this topic comfortably. An assembly that shows no empathy doesn’t count as comfortable nor appropriate. Giving students a small packet that cover more about cyber-bullying than anything else doesn’t mean you are appropriately handling this topic.  

Many students attending East High stated that their opinions on this subject isn’t confronted comfortably or appropriate. East has a hard time staying true to their statements, such as “if you need help, we are more than happy to be there; there are people that you can talk to that will not judge you.” Problems with this has more than one factor, however one of them is out of their control. This article is not to critic how poorly this subject is talked about in East. But as a student struggling with depression while attending high school, this piqued my interest. While researching I realized that just because depression doesn’t have a cure, doesn’t mean I can’t overcome it. From one student to another I can truly say that I hope you overcome this as healthily as possible.  

Now there is more than one type of depression. This is accumulated by how severe your symptoms are. MDD (Majorly Depressive Disorder) is a more serious and long-lasting form of depression. Depression is caused by multiple chemical imbalances within the brain such as the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that stores memories and regulates the production of a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that is released when the body is in physical and mental stress. The prefrontal cortex regulates emotions, making decisions, and forming memories. However, the prefrontal cortex appears to shrink when too much cortisol is released. This can make you forgetful which may make it hard for future references when taking quizzes or required state tests. Last and certainly not least, the amygdala controls emotional responses such as pleasure and fear. Unlike the prefrontal cortex the amygdala appears to expand. This can cause weird emotional reactions in certain situations as well as sleep disturbances. Students are recommended to get 8 hours of sleep; however, this may be hard to achieve due to the amygdala expanding. 

Student’s brains could be filled with thoughts of sadness, hopelessness, or nothingness causing a distraction. Many teachers do not take this into consideration, granted not every student show signs or symptoms of depression. If a student seems distracted or upset, please just calmly talk to them to see what is going on. If your students aren’t willing to tell you do not force them to tell you because you don’t know what is causing them to be upset. Kids can develop depression for many different reasons, however the leading causes are pressure at school or home, abuse or being neglected, and trauma in past or at home. Most people are not comfortable with announcing this information to others. If you are being abused there are hot-lines you can call to talk with someone to get help and remain anonymous. Safe UT is a hotline and app that allows you to call or even text a professional.  

Depression is a sad topic that no one should have to experience, however, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. If someone has depression do not treat them like a child and do not try to downsize the problems that they are facing. This will only make them feel worse. We may not feel like normal human beings but that doesn’t mean we aren’t human. If you have depression this doesn’t mean that you are weak. It just means that you have survived some of the toughest battles. Your scars are healing, try not to reopen them. If you do open them stitch them back up. Every wound takes time to heal, so how is this different? Take your time, you are not being rushed and if family or friends are pushing you, don’t talk to them. Friends and family are your support, your progress should not rush them. Like Tangled’s Mother Gothel said, “All good things to those who wait.”   

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