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Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers

March 7, 2017

What are the symptoms of depression in teenagers?

Symptoms of depression in teenagers include changes in mood and behavior including emotional changes, physical changes and social interaction changes. The list below includes common changes in teens with depression.

Symptoms of depression in teenagers – emotional changes

  • feeling sad and crying for no reason
  • frustration, anger and irritability over small matters
  • feeling guilty because of changes in behavior
  • feeling worthless with exaggerated self-blame and self-criticism
  • focusing on past behaviors and past failures
  • sensitive to negative criticisms from others
  • seem to require tremendous reassurance
  • thoughts of self-harm, death, dying and suicide
  • thoughts of a grim and hopeless future and life

Symptoms of depression in teenagers – behavioral changes

  • lack of interest in normal activities
  • lack of interest in family and friends
  • increased conflict with others
  • restlesness, agitation, cannot sit still and resorting to nervous behavior
  • use of alcohol, drugs and other stimulants
  • poor school performance
  • may be absent from school or ask to be absent from school
  • may start to neglect appearance
  • may start disruptive or risky behavior
  • may start to self harm e.g. cutting, burning, excessive piercing, tattooing

Symptoms of depression in teenagers – physical changes

  • trouble thinking and concentrating
  • trouble making decisions
  • may start speaking slowly or move slowly
  • tiredness
  • loss of energy
  • may complain about unexplained aches and pains
  • changes in appetite, either decreased or increased appetite leading to weight loss or weight gain

Teens with depression vs normal teen behavior

Teenagers with depression are not just feeling sad or angry or having the occasional bout of temper. A teen with depression faces an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and despair most or all of the time, and the teen’s own personality is affected by the depression. At the initial stages, it may be difficult to tell the difference between normal teen behavior and a teen with depression.

If the teen responds to his or her surroundings and to others, or appears to be capable of managing his or her feelings, then it is possible to wait and monitor the situation. If the signs and symptoms of depression in the teen worsen or start to interfere with the teen’s life, don’t hesitate – seek help.

Resource recommendations

Click on the links bellow for further sections of this Teen Depression Guide.

For further readings and articles on teen depression, see Teen Depression Further Readings section.