Being a teenager can be difficult. During the teenage years, kids face many stressors as they try to find themselves and discover who they want to be, and depression may be more common than you may think. Signs and symptoms of depression can be different in teenagers than in adults. While most teenagers experience bad moods or act out once in a while, depression goes far beyond occasional outbursts and snarky attitudes. Depression in teenagers can cause a complete change in their personality and lead to rebellious or unhealthy behaviors. Here are ten of the most common signs of depression in teens.
1. Persistent Bad Moods
Many teenagers struggling with depression may not necessarily appear sad or cry. Instead, they may show irritability, agitation, or anger over long periods of time.
2. Poor Grades at School
Depression can lead to difficulty concentrating. Many teens with depression will have a drop in their school grades or even have poor attendance. These behaviors typically occur in kids who previously were good students.
3. Violent Behavior
Sometimes, depression in teenagers results in aggressive or violent behavior. Teenagers may start to pick physical fights with peers or lash out and punch walls or other objects.
4. Loss of Interest in Activities or Hobbies
Teens with depression often become less involved with activities or hobbies they previously enjoyed. They may withdraw from friends and family, stop participating in sports or other extracurricular activities, and begin spending more time alone.
5. Physical Symptoms
Physical symptoms of depression in teens may include significant weight loss or weight gain. It can also manifest as stomach pain, headaches, or other bodily aches and pains.
6. Poor Hygiene
Some teens with depression may begin paying less attention to their personal hygiene than usual. This can look like skipping showers, not brushing their teeth, or wearing dirty, unmatched clothing.
7. Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Teens with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol to help them feel better. Unfortunately, substance abuse causes more harm than good and usually makes symptoms of depression worse.
8. Reckless Behaviors
Depression in teenagers may cause them to engage in high-risk and dangerous behaviors. Some teens may experiment with unsafe sex, drugs or alcohol, or reckless driving.
9. Sleep Changes
Teens with depression may spend more time sleeping than usual or experience insomnia and sleep less than expected.
10. Diet changes
You may notice your teenager eating less than usual or has begun to overeat if they struggle with depression.
Help Your Teen With Their Mental Health
Although it can be expected for teenagers to experience ups and downs, if your teenager is expressing more negative emotions and you’ve noticed changes in their behavior, they may struggle with depression.
Unfortunately, rates of depression in teenagers have increased over the past few years. It is suspected that social media and the COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced higher rates of depression than in previous years.
The good news is that with the proper treatment and interventions, like therapy and medication, many teenagers can achieve remission or recovery and live healthy, happy lives.