Is Your Teen Depressed? Signs to Watch for and What to Do

Posted by admin on May 2, 2017

Understanding and communicating with your teenager can feel like a veritable minefield.  Teens are frequently closed off and moody so determining what is normal teen behavior and what could be signs of depression can be challenging.  It may be easy to dismiss certain behaviors as “typical teen behavior” but the startling reality is that depression is prevalent among teenagers and should be vigilantly watched for by parents.  The National Institute of Mental Health elaborates on just how prevalent depression amongst teenagers is, “In 2015, an estimated 3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 12.5% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17.”

Everyone can experience symptoms of depression from time to time but one of the best ways that you can spot symptoms of depression is through open communication with your child.  However, we fully recognize that many teens do not know how to or want to express their emotions and feelings, particularly with their parents.  Though your teen may not want to have a long conversation about emotions and feelings (but never underestimate that they might want to!), there are other symptoms to watch for:

  • Poor performance in school or a dramatic change in performance
  • A sudden change of friend groups or withdrawal from those that were considered their “close friends”
  • Low self-esteem
  • Rage
  • Anger
  • Overreaction to circumstances, conversations, events, etc.
  • Low energy
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • No longer enjoys activities such as sports or hobbies that they used to enjoy
  • Restlessness or inability to sit still
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Frequent complaints of headaches, stomachaches, or physical pain
  • Reckless or irresponsible behavior
  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Use of drugs or alcohol


These are many but not all of the symptoms of depression but it clearly shows that many common symptoms could be depression or some other health concern.  It is for this reason that if you are noticing your teen is experiencing these symptoms, you should take them to see their physician right away. It will allow you to rule out whether or not something else is going on with their health.  Once you know this, you can begin to examine and discuss why your teen might be experiencing these symptoms and whether or not they are depressed.  It is important to not just see their physician but a certified behavioral counselor as well.  Seek a behavioral counselor, such as Diebold Behavioral Counseling, that is experienced in teenager depression counseling.  Potential treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, learning of coping techniques, and prescription medication. An experienced depression counselor will be able to assist you and your teen in becoming equipped with the tools you need to overcome teenager depression.

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