8 Signs of Major Clinical Depression in Teens

Depression is a serious mood disorder that changes how a person acts, things and handles daily activities. When a teenager experiences depression, they lose interest in activities like playing video games. They also experience a persistent feeling of complete sadness. A person must have symptoms associated with depression for at least two weeks before they can be diagnosed with the condition.

Depression Symptoms in Teens

Depression can occur to anyone for any reason and at any time in their life. However, symptoms of depression are usually different in teenagers and adults.

Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers

The daily teen issues like academic expectations, peer pressure and how their bodies are constantly changing can make teens feel a lot of negative emotions. For some teenagers, these negative emotions such as sadness aren’t temporary. They are potentially long-term symptoms of depression.

Teens who experience the following signs may be depressed:

1. Avoid Social Situations

It’s normal for a teenager to go through phases of not wanting to interact with friends, family members or even strangers. However, a depressed teen will withdraw from their close friends. They may skip get-togethers they used to enjoy.

2. They Don’t Care about Anything Anymore

Outgrowing old interests is a healthy sign of maturity and growth for a teen. Lack of enthusiasm and motivation is an indicator of teen depression. They don’t get excited about things they used to love like fashion, social media or video games. In addition, they don’t replace their old interests with new interests. They don’t care about participating in activities anymore.

3. They Appear Sad

A lot of teens are moody. They may feel happy one minute and sad the next minute. This is the usual moodiness many teens experience. There’s a big difference between moodiness and a persistent sad feeling. Joking with them or talking with them won’t make them feel better. Writing about death, making comments about suicide and giving away their belongings along with sadness are often a sign of teen depression.

4. Feel Shame

Teens are often more self-critical than children or adults. However, a teen experiencing depression is not self-critical, but ashamed of themselves. They feel something is wrong with them such as their looks or intelligence. The teen may make comments about how stupid they are or how much of a failure they are when they are depressed.

5. Concentration and Decision-Making are Impossible

Distraction and forgetfulness are often associated with the teenage years. It’s easy for them to change their minds constantly about one issue. For a teen experiencing depression, a parent may notice their once focused teen now has a difficult time concentrating on homework, tasks or chores.

6. Change in Eating Habits

Teens will go through a phase of noting eating their favorite foods, dieting or skipping meals for various reasons. A teen who experiences a change in their eating habits may be depressed. They may skip meals or have a total loss of appetite. They may crave sugary foods instead of meals. Sugary foods are self-soothing because the sugar gives them a temporary increase in dopamine levels. So, they may use the sugary foods to change their sad mood.

7. Change in Sleeping Habits

Late night activities like texting or playing video games in their room all night is one part of life for a teen. This can cause them to wake up late for school. If a teen develops depression, they may have a change in sleeping habits. They may sleep all the time or stay up all night. They may fall asleep, but wake up intermediately.

8. Taking Drugs and/or Alcohol

Teens often turn to substance abuse such as drugs and alcohol for a particular reason like a mental health issue. Drugs and drinking are unhealthy ways to dull with pain and self-treat other depression symptoms. If a teen is using drugs and/or alcohol, the underlying reasons must be discussed. For example, if the underlying cause is teen depression, the symptoms of depression must be treated first.

Helping Your Teen with Depression

Parents must emphasize to their teen that nothing is wrong with them. They aren’t weak because they have depression. They will overcome these symptoms with the correct treatment. Medication and psychological counseling at Centered Health may help ease the symptoms of teen depression.