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10 Most Common Teen Depression Symptoms

An estimated 3.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old experienced at least one major depressive episode.

Despite being one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, depression is often misunderstood. If you suspect your teenager is experiencing depression, it is important you seek the help he or she needs sooner than later.

How do you know if your teen is depressed?

Today, I am exploring 10 of the most common teen depression symptoms so you know what to look for.

Take a look ...

10 Teen Depression Symptoms

While it is perfectly normal for teenagers to experience mood swings, there are a few specific things you can keep an eye on if you suspect your teen may have some form of depression.

It is important to keep an eye out for symptoms as your teen gets older, as the prevalence of depression among teens increases year after year.

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Depression is similar to teen anxiety disorders in the way that it can negatively impact everything from social behavior to academic performance.

If you suspect your teen has depression, it is important for you to address it sooner than later. Despite some teen depression symptoms appearing normal, they may result in the development of additional issues, including substance abuse and self-harm.

If you are not sure, that is okay.

Take a look at the list of teen depression symptoms then contact me with your questions. You can schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation today and get the answers you need.

1. Poor Performance at School

Inferior performance at school means more than just getting bad grades. Inferior performance could also include your teen is being disrespectful to teachers and staff, getting into fights with peers, skipping school altogether, and yes, a drastic change in grades from good to bad.

Your child spends a lot of time at school. If their attitude and behavior changes while at school, you may want to investigate to see if your child may be showing signs of depression.

2. Anger or Hostility

It is normal for teens to get angry occasionally. They are trying to find themselves, their independence and where they fit in with peer groups and within the world. It is okay for them to express their emotions, even when they are angry, if they express it appropriately and not in a destructive manner.

If your teen, however, exhibits anger most of the time you are around him or her, this may be a signal of a greater problem. If they throw objects, curse at you or become violent, they are crying out for help.

3. Hanging with the Wrong Crowd

According to reports, one in three teens feel pressured by peers to try drugs and fifty percent feel pressured to engage in sexual activities.If you notice your teen spending time with teens who are often in trouble for bad behaviors, this could be a symptom of something greater. Self-esteem can play a significant role in whether your child has the confidence to avoid joining in with their peers’ negative actions.

4. Making Comments About Death

According to the Center for Disease Control, who studied teens in grades nine through twelve, found that 17 percent had seriously considered suicide in the last year. Even more alarming, eight percent made an actual suicide attempt.

Pay attention to what your teen says to you, what they write in their notebooks, their doodles and what they say to others. Even if you think they are joking, get help from a professional just to make sure.

5. Lack of Motivation

Teens should have energy. They are young, and even on little sleep, teens seem to be ready to do something spontaneously if it interests them. Many teens participate in extracurricular activities of some kind and have interests and hobbies they enjoy.

If you notice your teen lacks the motivation to participate in activities, whether it be hobbies or work, they could be fighting symptoms of depression. If they spend much of their time sleeping or laying in bed, they may need help.

6. Exhibiting Self-Abusive Behaviors

Abusive behaviors can include anything from substance abuse to eating disorders. If your teen is doing anything you consider to be harmful, seek help from a professional immediately.

Teens do not always know how to cope with their ever-changing emotions. Sometimes they cope with destructive behaviors. The sooner you can teach them appropriate coping skills, the better.

7. Complaints of Physical Pain

One major symptom of depression is physical aches or pains. While you may attribute your teen’s pains to be a part of growing, this is not always the case. It is best to have a doctor assess your teen to determine where their symptoms derived.

Physical symptoms of depression can include joint pain, headaches or migraines and lack of energy. Symptoms may also appear as irregular heart rate, excessive anxiety and digestive problems.

8. Changes in Physical Appearance

Has your teen recently lost a lot of weight or gained weight? Has your teen recently drastically changed the way they dress? These are all symptoms of depression.

Major weight changes are indicators that your teen is struggling with an emotional issue, likely depression. Some teens may overeat and gain excessive weight. Others may restrict the amount of food intake, possibly leading to anorexia.

Clothing can be representative of how we are feeling internally. Talk to your teen about their food and clothing choices to make sure they are not struggling with a bigger problem.

9. Unable to Concentrate

Whether at school or home, if your teen struggles to stay focused, they could be suffering from depression. The inability to concentrate is a symptom that is common among teens with depression.

They are not daydreaming. In fact, they are not really thinking about one thing. They just find it difficult to focus on one subject for an extended period. This causes them to miss valuable information from teachers.

It also makes it difficult for you to communicate with them. Your teen is not trying to ignore you or show you disrespect. They are simply unable to stay focused possibly due to their mental health.

10. Sadness or Hopelessness

Teens do not have to be suicidal to experience hopelessness. Depression makes your teen feel like there is no point in trying to succeed. It makes them feel helpless, leading to them feeling sad. They may appear tearful, even when participating in healthy activities.

When teens are depressed, this can mean brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine may be lower than teens who do not have depression. Meeting with a professional can determine if this is the case. They can offer you suggestions on how to increase brain chemicals naturally, so your teen can start feeling better soon.

Your most important job as a parent is to ensure your child can thrive in life. By paying attention to their mental health, you will have no problem reaching this goal.

Conclusion

Teen depression symptoms come in many forms, so it is important for us to keep an eye out for behavioral patterns that may indicate depression.

Depression can develop into additional conditions if unaddressed, including everything from substance abuse to self-harm. 

Yet, 60% of teens with depression did not receive any type of treatment in 2016. In other words, 60% of children in need of help did not receive it and may be susceptible to developing additional problems.

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Now that you have an idea of what teen depression symptoms may look like, it is time to consider whether or not your teen may have a mental condition impacting their daily life.

If so, it is time to seek the help he or she needs.

Give me a call or email me to request a complimentary 15-minute consultation today.


Chris Massman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Agoura Hills, CA. She graduated Phillips Graduate Institute with a Master of Arts in Psychology in 2014 and received her Chemical Dependency Specialty in 2014. Today, she practices Congnitive-behavioral therapy to help individuals, couples, and families identify and overcome a variety of unique challenges.