Symptoms and Signs of Depression in Teens
Depressive disorders are part of human life, and teenagers are not excepted. As in adults, teen depression symptoms can present different characteristics from one individual to another.
It depends on the type of depressive disorder, lifestyle, cultural background and environmental factors of the person affected. For instance, clinical depression can be more severe than a seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Even if their symptoms can be similar, the severity and treatment might not be the same.
The causes of the disorder can also be different in teenagers than in adults. There are multiple factors that can lead a teenager to become depressed: poor school grades or performance, social status with peers, sexual orientation, family conflicts, and others. Environmental stress can also lead to development of teen depression. Regardless, an appropriate treatment is essential to avoid catastrophic results. In seeking medical help, parents should actively get involved, as most teenagers would not care to do so. If you are a parent and discover any of these warning signs or symptoms of depression, seek medical care earliest possible:
Sadness – Sadness is one of the most common depression symptoms in teens as well as adults. The sad feeling can be accompanied with continuous or frequent crying depending upon the intensity and severity of the disease. Left alone or/and without support, the situation can deteriorate to suicidal thoughts. The best thing to do to prevent this complication is to make the depressed teen feel he/she is loved and appreciated by encouraging and supporting him. Remember, medical intervention is a must when the depression associated with a severe state of stress, hopelessness, restlessness, and/or suicidal signs.
Social Withdrawal and Lack of Interest – Depressed teenagers tend to be socially withdrawn; they frequently refrain from social activities which cause in them a feeling of loneliness. They show no sign of interest in normal activities of life: stop watching their favorite TV shows, give up on practicing music, stop playing sport, etc. Normally, a healthy teen enjoy partying and having a huge social circle. But when depression hits, the teenager usually want to stay alone and away from family and friends. He/she tries to avoid all family dinners and gatherings while friendships will also take a backseat. Therefore, if you are a parent and your teenager continuously stays to himself or in her/his room, this can indicate a depression symptom.
Fatigue – an unreasonable fatigue can be an indication of teen depression. In this case, the fatigue would occur due to no medical condition or changes in lifestyle or diet. The teenager can feel constantly tired without doing any other activity which can lead to tiredness. Fatigue in this case is basically a state of no enthusiasm and zest in life coupled with a few headaches and body aches here and there. This depression-related fatigue is mostly common in teenage girls.
Lack of Concentration – a teenager who used to stay focused, and all at once shows a lack of concentration without any lifestyle change cab a warning sign of depression. The concentration problem can be due to constant state of hopelessness and worthlessness. Being a parent, you can recognize this in your teenager if you realize he/she is often caught off guard most times or always has a look of surprise when you ask him for something.
Changes in Eating and Sleeping Habits – fluctuations in eating habits – no desire to eat or constant craving for foods- may indicate a depressive disorder. These indications are also common in adults as well. In fact, this is one of the most common clinical signs of depression in teens and adults. Sleep disorders are often associated with the eating problem. Some teenagers might sleep a lot, even during the day while some others might suffer from insomnia. Usually, a depressed teenager would suddenly start eating and sleeping a lot more or less while being depressed. This often leads to weight loss or gain. This is also one of the bipolar depression symptoms.
Suicidal Thoughts and Signs
Irritation and Anger – it is common to find depressed individuals – adults and teenagers- get irritated for any insignificant matter. In fact, manic depression symptoms can include not only anger and irritation but also many other types of mood disorders. If you see your teen unusually experiences continuous irritation along with anger, restlessness and a rebellious streak it can be an indication. Any of the above mentioned symptoms can be experienced or all of them might be experienced together as well. When all of them combined in one individual, suicidal thoughts tend to be present as well.
Negative or Suicidal Thoughts – severe depression symptoms in teens always include negative or suicidal thoughts. Due to increase negative thinking about worthlessness and hopelessness, the mind of the depressed person cannot or fails to see the bright side of things, thus starts thinking about suicide. In severe cases, the patient can contemplate suicide and run away from home. Evading home not only is among the top suicidal signs, but it also foolish decision which can lead to more serious problems. For instance, the depressed individual can end being victim of criminals. But for them, it’s like there is no hope anymore (while in fact it’s not the case), whatever happens, happens.
Above are some depression symptoms in teens, not the complete list. As mentioned earlier, signs and symptoms of depressive disorders differ from person to person; only a professional diagnosis can determine if you or your teenager suffer from the disease or not, and determine its severity.
Depression in teens is a major cause of suicide all over the world. It is very important to seek professional care and social support earliest possible to avoid complications. Talk therapy and counseling can be enough to treat less severe depression.