Often, depressed teens will display a striking change in their thinking and behavior, lose their motivation, or become withdrawn. The following are the major signs of depression in adolescents.
- Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness.
- Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain.
- Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day.
- Withdrawal from friends or family.
- Rebellious behavior, sudden drop in grades or cutting school.
- Complaints of pains including headaches, stomachaches, low back pain or fatigue.
- Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity.
- A preoccupation with death and dying
- A few more:
- Irritability, anger, or hostility
- Tearfulness or frequent crying
- Loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy
- Restlessness and agitation
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
It is common for adolescents to occasionally feel unhappy. However, when the unhappiness lasts for more than two weeks and the teen experiences other symptoms typical of depression, then he or she may be suffering from adolescent depression.
It is estimated that depression affects as many as one in every 33 children and one in eight adolescents.
There are many reasons why teenagers become unhappy. High stress environments can lead to depression. Teens can develop feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy over school performance, social interaction, sexual orientation or family life. If friends or family, or things that the teen usually enjoys, don't help to improve his or her sadness or sense of isolation, there's a good chance that he or she is depressed.Seek help, do not wait for additional signs. Contact a school counselor,seek an evaluation and get your teen help.
Depression tends to be more common in adolescents who have a history of depression in their families, although not always.
If you believe your teenager is suffering from depression, you should seek help from a qualified healthcare professional.Suicide warning signs in teenagers
An alarming and increasing number of teenagers attempt and succeed at suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. For the overwhelming majority of suicidal teens, depression or another psychological disorder plays a primary role. In depressed teens who also abuse alcohol or drugs, the risk of suicide is even greater.
Because of the very real danger of suicide, teenagers who are depressed should be watched closely for any signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior. The warning signs include:
- Talking or joking about committing suicide.
- Saying things like, â€œIâ€™d be better off dead,â€ â€œI wish I could disappear forever,â€ or â€œThereâ€™s no way out.â€
- Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying (â€œIf I died, people might love me moreâ€).
- Writing stories and poems about death, dying, or suicide.
- Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for good.
- Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves.
If you suspect that a teenager you know is suicidal, take immediate action! For 24-hour suicide prevention and support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
If youâ€™re a teenager struggling with depression or youâ€™d like to learn how to help a depressed friend, see Dealing with Teen Depression: Tips and Tools for Teens.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, helpguide.org, CDC,Young Women's Health