Teenagers get a reputation for being moody and temperamental, but sometimes their attitude and behaviors are a coded cry for help; sometimes it’s teen depression.
Is your teenager suffering from depression? The teen years are a transitional and sometimes difficult stage for many boys and girls. New experiences, pressure to be a kid but act maturely, adulthood looming on the horizon… and all this in a coming-of-age environment with no how-to manual. Sometimes the stress and isolation become something more.
Signs of Teen Depression
Listen and talk with your teen about depression-related behaviors. While all teenagers are different, there are several red flags to be aware of.
- Depression is often associated with sadness, but many teens display increased irritability as a red flag of their depression. Other emotions often tied to teen depression are anger, hostility, sadness, and hopelessness.
- Withdrawal and disinterest are other key signs. Disinterest in form hobbies or activities, withdrawal from some friends and family, and poor school performance and grades are signs your teen is suffering.
- Depression is not just a mental ailment- unexplained aches and pains as well as restlessness and agitation are noticeable red flags.
- Teens tend to sleep more than kids or adults, but fatigue or lack of energy might be a sign your son or daughter is depressed.
Teens can be touchy, but sensitivity to rejection, failure, and criticism is extreme in those suffering from depression. Your teenager might be more tearful or cry more often.
- Lastly, feelings of worthlessness or guilt might be affecting your teenager. Talk with them regularly and seek immediately professional help if they express thoughts of death or suicide.
Talk with your teen. An open and honest line of communication is your best tool as a parent to identify difficulties and hardships in your son or daughter’s life. Validate their feelings and focus on listening, not lecturing. If your teen refuses to open up to you, encourage them to seek help from a trusted teacher, mentor, or mental health professional.
For more information on teen behavior and depression, visit the Prevention Action Alliance at https://preventionactionalliance.org/advocate/newsletters/know-how-to-fight-teen-depression-2/.