Research shows that one out of every eight adolescents suffers from depression, according to the federal Center for Mental Health Services. But depression and the serious problems that accompany it, can be treated.
Depression isn’t just feeling sad — it’s much more than that. It is a serious condition that involves discouragement, despair and hopelessness that can last for weeks, months or longer.
Given normal teenage moodiness, it might be hard to discern between that and depression. Here are some signs of depression in teens.
Be alert for teens who are having feelings of guilt, worthlessness, fixation on past failures, or inflated self-blame or self-criticism, advises the Mayo Clinic.
Depressed teens can be extremely sensitive to failure or rejection, and may need more than what might be considered a normal amount of reassurance.
Teenage depression involves feeling a negative, low mood for an extended period. The young people feel unusually defeated, sad, or both.
Teens can also be irritable. In fact, this is often the predominant mood in depressed teens. He or she may act hostile, become easily frustrated, or be liable to exhibit angry outbursts. Other signs are sleeping during the day, and not sleeping at night.
Depressed teens may say that they feel unexplained physical aches and pains, such as headaches or stomachaches.
They may also experience changes in appetite. Decreased appetite may lead to weight loss. Or increased appetite may cause weight gain.
Depression can take its toll on teens. They may feel drained or exhausted. They may think, speak and move slower, as everything can feel as though it requires more effort. Motivation, concentration and focus are difficult and the teens may show signs of apathy.
Depressed teens may withdraw from some people, but not all. They may pull away from their parents. Some may socialize less, while other begin hanging out with a different group of friends or peers.
You should watch for other changes in behavior, such as agitation or restlessness. The teen may not care about their appearance even though they used to.