Does Your Teen Have Depression?
Depression in teens is a widespread problem, and too often it goes unnoticed by parents and other authority figures. Close friends may not always be aware of it, either. However, close observation of teenage behavior can help reveal whether depression may be an issue and what the underlying causes might be.
The teenage years are a confusing time for many. Dealing with the onset of adolescence and hormones, as well as concerns about what to do after high school, puts a lot of pressure on many teenagers. A little moodiness is normal, but there are warning signs to watch out for. If you notice these, something more serious may be going on.
One big red flag is a sudden loss of interest in passions or in friendships. Does your teen normally love photography, but he hasn’t touched a camera in weeks? Have a talk with him about why that is. If your normally gregarious teen is avoiding people, it could be due to depression either brought on by a chemical imbalance or by interpersonal conflict such as incessant bullying. A lot of depression in teens is connected with cruelty by their classmates.
Another sign of depression can be sluggishness. When teens are depressed, they have less energy than usual. If getting out of bed seems to be a much bigger struggle than before, this could be an issue. Slipping grades could also be connected with an overall lack of energy and focus. If their teacher reports frequent falling asleep in class, there might also be reason to suspect depression.
Another physical symptom is a marked change in eating habits. When they are depressed, some teens begin to lose interest in food, eating very little and skipping meals. Others may be inclined to load up on snacks and other comfort foods. Overeating and eating too little can point to eating disorders as well, but if there are other signs present, it could be a sign of depression in teens.
Finally, be on the lookout for extremely morose behavior. If your normally upbeat teen seems down in the dumps all the time, there is definitely something going on, and it could be depression. If it persists for days or even weeks, it’s definitely worth pursuing. Talk to your teen and to people who see your teen in other contexts, then consider the possibility or therapy or medication to correct this debilitating problem.