What are some signs of teenage depression?

Below is a list of behaviors and signs that may indicate if your teen is depressed. However, since many of the items on the list seem like typical, bad teenager behavior, keep in mind two more points. Are these behaviors appearing as changes from your teen's typical behavior and are they lasting at least two weeks? If this is the case, do take your teen to a medical professional who can properly diagnose if depression is in fact the case.

  • Bad hygiene
  • Withdrawal from normal family or social activities
  • Easily irritated
  • More aggressive (especially true for teenage boys)
  • Increased interest in morbid topics (especially true for teenage girls)
  • Appears sad, lethargic or uninvolved
  • Changes in eating habits, large swing (more than five pounds/2 kilos) in weight
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Negative attitude, expressing hopelessness or helplessness about the future
  • Expressing feeling of increased isolation or acting in ways that create isolation
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as drugs, sex or alcohol
  • Talking about hurting him/herself
  • Self-inflicted injuries (such as cutting, particularly in teen girls)
  • Sleeping more or less, or having problems waking up or falling asleep
  • Worsening self-esteem
  • Expressing frustration in not being understood by adults or disapproved of
  • Feeling unable to express what he/she is feeling; feeling nothing at all
  • Worsening academic performance
  • Trying to run away from home
  • Feeling picked on
  • No longer doing his/her favorite activities
  • Expressing feelings of guilt, regardless of whether warranted
  • Expressing thoughts of killing him/herself

If your teen is depressed, it's highly unlikely he/she will exhibit every sign on this list. Also, if you see just one or two signs and they disappear quickly, that is not likely depression (although it should still merit at least a good talk with your teen about what's going on). It is multiple signs that persist for at least two weeks that can indicate teen depression.




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