Being a teenager is not easy, especially is today’s world.
They are feeling isolated like never before being cut off from school and friends and their normal activities. And even as things begin to return to some level of normal, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty.
And even though teens are not currently dealing with typical social stressors, they are more active than ever on social media. These platforms are ripe for teens to fall into the comparison trap measuring themselves against their peers that they see as doing better at the things they struggle with.
While it’s not uncommon, and completely understandable right now, for teenagers to get into a bit of a funk, how do you know if it’s something more? And if you are worried that it is something more, how do you go about helping them with these complex issues?
The following are signs of depression in teens. If you read them over and think that your teen might be struggling with more than just this typical teen troubles, you’ll also find resources to help you help your depressed teen.
What are the Signs of Depression in Teens?
While adults can seek help on their own, many teenagers have to rely on their parents or other adults to help them recognize that they have depression and to help them get the help they need. This isn’t an easy process, and often depression doesn’t present itself in obvious ways. For example, teenagers don’t always appear to be sad, but may be irritable or angry instead.
Here are some signs of depression in teens:
- Hostility or anger toward others or themselves
- Changes in either or both sleeping and eating habits
- Frequent crying
- Withdrawal from others
- Loss of interest
- Poor school performance
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Trouble concentrating
- Suicidal thoughts
You can find a full list of symptoms and more details here.
How Depression May Affect a Teenager
It’s a common misconception that depression merely causes a person to be sad. The reality is that depression lies dormant and strikes when you least expect it. If your teenager has depression, they may be fine for weeks at a time, and then suddenly have a day so bad they can’t get out of bed.
It’s important to understand that depression affects everyone differently and that just because a symptom seems to have disappeared doesn’t mean it won’t come back again. Sudden changes in your teenager’s character or how they act can sometimes be a clue that they may be depressed as well.
How You Can Help If Your Child Suffers from Teen Depression
It’s normal for kids to feel sad over the loss of a loved one or irritated when they lose their soccer game or do poorly on a test. Bad moods will happen, and especially as your teenager enters puberty.
However, when those negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions start to linger for long periods of time and change your teenager’s ability to function normally, it might be time to consider the possibility that your child has depression.
If you think your teenager might be suffering from depression or is showing one or more signs of depression in teens, then there are a few things you can do to help:
- Talk with your teenager about depression and their mood swings
- Schedule a visit to your teenager’s doctor: Sometimes, mood swings can be a sign of an underlying health problem.
- Contact a mental health specialist: You can get a referral from your teenager’s doctor.
- Explore other resources that may be available to your teen here:
Society for Adolescent Mental Health
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline. This service is completely confidential and free to call. This hotline can be used to get help or for family members who are caring for someone with depression or mental illness.
Having a teenager with depression doesn’t mean that you as a parent have done something wrong and there is no reason for you or them to feel ashamed. Many people struggle with mental health issues, but just like any other health problem, you need to seek out medical help and treatment to ensure the most successful outcome.