December 2, 2015
Watch for These Warning Signs of Depression in Your Teen
Written by Rachel Eddins
Your teen is going through many changes and chemicals are playing havoc with his or her body.
Emotions are erratic and you’re left wondering every morning which version of your teenager you’re going to be greeted with. However, this is all perfectly normal teenage behavior, right?
To an extent, yes. What if it’s more, though? Could there be a serious psychological issue involved?
Perhaps it could possibly be depression? Depression in teenagers is certainly not rare.
In May 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that depression was the number one cause of illness and disability in teenagers, and that number continues to rise every year.
So how do you tell if your child is possibly suffering from depression? What are the warning signs of depression in teenagers?
Depression Doesn’t Necessarily Look the Way We Expect it to Look
If we were asked to come up with an image of someone suffering from depression, most of us would picture a person who appears to be extremely sad. While this is certainly one possible symptom of depression, it’s not the only one.
In fact, it’s not even the most common symptom amongst teenagers who suffer from depression.
Teenage sufferers, more so than their adult counterparts, tend to have symptoms of irritability and anger.
It is especially hard to tell the difference between normal teenage moodiness and depression, when it comes to this particular symptom.
Also, while adults suffering from depression tend to isolate themselves completely, depressed teenagers may still hold onto a few friendships. However, they may withdraw from everybody else, especially you, the parent.
Warning Signs of Depression in Teenagers
Of course, there are many possible symptoms that can show up in both depressed adults and teenagers alike:
· Lack of Concentration– They may appear to be frequently distracted and unable to concentrate on the task at hand.
· Fatigue– A depressed teenager may display a lack of energy and be tired all of the time.
· Lack of Interest in Activities– They may no longer seem motivated to take part in activities that had previously interested them.
· A Change in Habits– Their eating and sleeping habits may change. Either an excessive amount, or not enough of either one, is yet another possible sign of depression and should be noted.
· Excessive crying– Puberty is hard on a teenager and some crying can be expected. However, frequent crying, especially unwarranted and random crying, can be a sign that something is wrong.
· Withdrawal– Friends and family seem to get hit with this the hardest. A depressed teenager may no longer wish to engage in even everyday activities with their family, preferring to remain alone and isolated.
· Agitation– They may appear to be restless and ready to argue, to the point that even seemingly small things may set them off.
· Suicidal Thoughts– Oftentimes, teenagers will make their suicidal thoughts known, even going so far as to explicitly mention them. This may be their way of asking for help, without even realizing that they’re asking for help. If your teenager mentions suicide, it is important to have them see a mental health professional. You do not want to take chances, as suicidal ideation can become stronger over time.
And now you can see why it’s so hard to tell the difference between regular teenage behavior and the symptoms of teenage depression. Any one of these warning signs of depression in teenagers, excluding suicidal thoughts, is not too unusual or worrisome.
However, if your teen consistently displays several symptoms, and it starts to affect their well-being, then it may be time to see a mental health professional for further evaluation. Puberty is hard enough without also having to deal with unchecked depression.
Get Help for Your Teen’s Depression
Our therapists are available for face-to-face sessions as online therapy sessions in limited areas. To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.
Read more about teen depression counseling services.