Are you worried about your teen? Does she seem less herself lately? Adolescence can be a turbulent time, with plenty of lows along with the highs. Sometimes what had seemed like a bout of sadness blossoms into something new — depression.
The teen years can be overwhelming. Adolescents are faced with big decisions. They must navigate through major milestones though they are young and inexperienced — all while dealing with new bodies and the hormonal surges that come with them.
Many teenagers have some trouble during this era, some have a lot of trouble. But depression stands in a category all its own. MedlinePlus reports that one out of every five adolescents will deal with depression.
Sadness, in and of itself, is not depression. For that matter, sometimes a teenager struggling with depression will seem irritable or angry, rather than sad.
If your child has always been on the shy side, being quiet doesn't suddenly mean that she is depressed. If she used to be the life of the party and has become withdrawn, though, you may be looking at depression.
If she has struggled with school in the past, low grades don't necessarily point to depression either. However, if she used to love school, and did well in her grades, but no longer wants to go to school and her grades are going downhill, something is going on with your teenager, and it may be depression.
Her "usual" is usual no more.
A depressed teenager can have a hard time concentrating, and thinking things through. Grades may plummet. She may seem rebellious in ways that never happened in the past. She may begin to skip classes.
She may seem in some ways to have become a different person. Past interests may lose their appeal. She may no longer want to see her old friends. She may become difficult to get along with.
Depression can lead a teenager to using drugs and alcohol, as well as into sexual activity that is out of character. She may harm herself by burning or cutting herself.
She may come across as bored and disinterested. Her outlook on the future can be pessimistic and negative. She may feel insecure and worthless.