Teen Girl Depressed

Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and the occasional melancholy blues – it’s a serious problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. Teen depression can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, self-loathing, self-mutilation, pregnancy, violence, and even suicide.

Recent surveys indicate that up to three million teenagers in the United States alone suffer from adolescent depression. What’s more troubling, experts say only one in five depressed teens receive help. Many will not be treated because their parents and teachers miss the symptoms. But as a concerned parent, teacher or friend, there are many ways you can help. Talking about the problem and offering support can go a long way toward getting your teenager back on track.

There are as many misconceptions about teen depression as there are about teenagers in general. Yes, teen years are tough and occasional bad moods or acting out is to be expected, but depression is something different. Depression can destroy the very essence of a teenager’s personality, causing an overwhelming sense of sadness, anger, and despair.

Whether the incidences of teen depression are actually increasing, or we’re just becoming more aware of them, the fact remains that depression strikes teenagers far more often than most people think. Unlike adults who have the ability to seek assistance on their own, teenagers must rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the treatment they need. If you have an adolescent in your life, it is extremely important to learn what teen depression looks like and what to do if you spot the warning signs.

Signs and symptoms of depression in teens:

  • Irritable, grumpy or easily frustrated
  • Angry outbursts
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you’re unsure if an adolescent in your life is depressed or just “being a teenager” consider:

  • How long the symptoms have been present
  • How severe they are
  • How different the teen is acting from his/her usual self

While some “growing pains” are to be expected as teenagers cope with the challenges of growing up, dramatic and long-lasting changes in personality, mood, or behavior are definitely red flags for the parent to recognize there is a deeper problem. Depression is highly treatable. It’s better to play it safe and seek medical advice.