Depression Symptoms in Teens You May Not Notice at First
Life of a teenager is not that easy. Along with the joy of friendship, fun and new bright experiences there come stress, anxiety, doubts, lack of self-confidence and first disappointments. Every parent of an adolescent may notice his/her child being moody, irritable or gloomy from time to time. However, what seems to be low spirits may have substantial reasons.
Teen depression is a serious health problem that affects every aspect of a child’s life deeply. Good news is that it’s treatable, and teens can overcome it successfully. Unlike adults, who often tend to overcome the difficult period on their own, teenagers depend on the people who can take care of them and whom they can trust. Parents’ support, love, and understanding are essential for a depressed child.
Signs of depression in teens are not always obvious; some can be not easy to recognize. Always be attentive to your child, he/she may be in blues even if saying that all is fine and refusing to share his/her problems. What teen depression is and what its symptoms are is something that every parent should know.
Most common symptoms of teen depression are:
- Being inactive, sluggish, and fatigue most of the time, lacking energy;
- Frustration, sadness, and hopelessness. A child looks dispirited, doesn’t joke and laugh;
- Irritability, anger. Losing temper more often than usual, overreacting even on trifles;
- Low self-esteem;
- Mood swings. An abrupt and uncontrollable change of mood;
- Withdrawal from friends and family;
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities that once were favorite;
- Changes in daily routine. Insomnia. Staying awake at night and sleeping too much during the day;
- Loss of appetite or compulsive overeating, weight loss or gain as a result;
- Unexplained body aches and headaches.
Any of these symptoms are red flags for the parents that something is wrong with their teen. Be those health problems, changes in hormones in a child’s body or hidden depression, none of such signs should be ignored. At the same time, remember that some depression symptoms can be confused with character features and lifestyle.
For example, difficulty making decisions, lack of motivation and enthusiasm, irresponsible behavior, skipping school being late for classes or slow thinking, speaking and body movements. If you notice any of these things, don’t freak out and don’t rush to the doctor to get the antidepressant recipe. Talk to your child and try to find out the reason for such attitude, but never blame him or her!
On the other hand, there is a range of symptoms that requires an immediate interference by the family members and help of a medical professional in some cases:
- Display of violence;
- Acting rebellious;
- Excessive feeling of guilt, constant self-reproach;
- Injuring self, leaving any marks on body;
- Frequent talking of death and suicide;
- Saying that the life is meaningless.
The reasons for teen depression may vary and be caused by family conflicts, fear of punishment, quarrels with friends, boyfriends or girlfriends, big tension at school, trying to justify high expectations of parents, one-way first love or affection, having health problems and many more other reasons. Nowadays, depression from cyberbullying or being bullied at school becomes more frequent.
How to help a teenager with depression?
The most important is to gain the child’s trust, let him/her speak and listen attentively. Focus on the teen’s problems, show understanding and concern. Take it seriously. Even if a problem may seem minor to you as an adult, a child can consider it to be extremely serious and acute. Trust your intuition. Your teen may deny being depressed but if he/she is still sad, irritated or fatigue without explaining the reasons most probably something is wrong.
Once knowing about depression and discussing it, good thing you may do is to encourage your kid to socialize, get involved in hobbies and active rest, try new and exciting activities. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you realize that can’t handle the situation on your own.