Teens don’t come with an instruction book…
As teens struggle through the tough transition period of childhood into young adulthood, it can be difficult to decipher a teen’s behavior. Are their out-of-control emotions and conduct a result of the natural process of adolescence, or is it something more serious?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2016 approximately 3.1 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 experienced at least one episode of major depression. Depression is a serious mood disorder that, if left untreated, can cause serious short and long-term mental and even physical health problems. Moreover, depression carries a high risk of suicide.
Signs of Depression in Teenagers
Depression looks a little bit different in every adult, so of course it does in every teenager as well. You know your teenager the best. Even if they seem distant and hard to recognize at the moment, you’ve cared for your child their entire life. So, if your gut says something is “off,” it’s worth listening.
Below are six general signs of depression that often occur in teenagers.
1. Excessive Crying and Sadness
While emotions tend to run high in most teenagers, excessive crying and sadness that persist for more than two weeks could be a sign of depression. It’s important to note that you may not always see your child crying. It may look more like withdrawing to their room and seeming “sulky.”
2. Loss of Interest and Motivation
When a teen is depressed, they may have trouble concentrating. This will cause them to lose motivation and interest in activities they once enjoyed. Your teenager may drop out of their favorite sports, give up a hobby or stop playing an instrument as they become depressed.
3. Problems at School
High school can be a challenge for any teenager. However, depression makes the daily stressors of high school even more difficult to cope with. The loss of concentration and motivation could also result in problems at school. Skipping school, plunging grades and a lack of participation in school and extracurricular activities are all signs that could be pointing to teen depression.
4. Changes in Weight or Eating Habits
Has your teen’s eating habits changed? Are they skipping meals or eating larger portions more frequently? Eating more or less, as well as dramatic changes in weight (either gained or lost) is one of the signs of depression.
5. Withdrawal from High School Friends
Depression causes people to isolate themselves. It’s not uncommon for a depressed teen to begin to withdraw from friends and family, choosing instead to spend time alone or locked in their room. If your teen is depressed, you may notice them begin to avoid spending time with friends and loved ones.
6. Suicidal Ideation
It can be a bit scary to hear your teenager threaten suicide and you may not want to believe they “mean it.” However, thoughts of death or suicide should never be taken lightly. Threats or even jokes about suicide are a cry for help from your teen. We know that it’s hard to even know how to react if your teen makes statements about suicide, and many parents don’t want to believe that there’s any chance their child could mean what they are saying. If your teen expresses thoughts of suicide, react calmly, and then seek immediate help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Please, do not assume that they don’t mean what they are saying. Their life is not worth the risk. Even if they “don’t mean it” all statements about suicide should be taken seriously and seen as a sign that it’s time to get help from mental health professionals.
Counseling for Depressed Teenagers in Temecula, CA
If you suspect that your teen is experiencing depression, it’s important that you seek professional help from an experienced mental health professional that specializes in treating teens. Outside the Norm Counseling in a counseling clinic in Temecula. Our therapists specialize in treating depression and anxiety. Furthermore, we enjoy working with teenagers and look forward to helping your teenager and family as a whole. Contact Outside the Norm Counseling today to set up your teen’s first counseling appointment.