Monday, July 15
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Signs Your Teenager Might Be Struggling with Depression

Teenagers feel too many emotions because of hormones. One minute, they’re happy; the next, they‘re slamming doors and muttering about how much you don’t understand them. But it can be hard to tell if these are typical teenage growing behaviors and what might be something more serious like depression. 

Depression is surprisingly common in teens, affecting millions in the United States alone. But it’s treatable. As a parent, teacher, or anyone who cares about a teen, this uncertainty can be frustrating. You want to be supportive but don’t want to overreact. To help you out, we have discovered some signs with the help of the Protected Roots Integrative Treatment Center that might suggest your teen is going through depression.

The Puberty vs. Depression

There’s some overlap between the emotional rollercoaster of puberty and the symptoms of depression. Both can have changes in mood, sleep patterns, and social behavior. But there are some major differences to watch out for.

Puberty-related mood swings tend to be fleeting. They could last a day or two and increase by a special event or frustration. On the other hand, depression is a more persistent state. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or irritability can last for weeks or even months.

The occasional bad mood during puberty can disrupt a teenager’s day a bit. But it usually doesn’t completely derail their activities. However, depression can impact a teen’s ability to enjoy hobbies, go to school, or maintain relationships. 

Teenagers going through puberty might lose interest in specific activities, but they’ll still find joy in other things. Depression usually leads to a more general loss of interest or pleasure in most activities, if not all.

Warning Signs That Your Teen is Depressed

There are specific signs that might indicate your teen is struggling with depression, not just the teenage hormone. Watch out for these symptoms:

  1. Mood Changes

Notice the intensity and duration of the emotional shift. Are they feeling down for a few hours or consistently sad?

Some signs are:

  • A general feeling of unhappiness or emptiness that overshadows positive emotions is a red flag.
  • Increased frustration, anger outbursts, or constant negativity can be signs of underlying depression. 
  • They suddenly lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, such as sports, hobbies, or hanging out with friends. 
  1. The Physical Signs

Depression can show physical signs as well. However, it’s not obvious. But it’s better to be cautious. 

  • Sleeping too much or too little can disturb daily life and indicate depression. 
  • Changes in eating habits, like losing interest in food or constant overeating, can be warning signs.
  • Constant fatigue that makes it difficult to concentrate or complete daily tasks is a symptom to consider. 
  1. Social Disconnect

Teenagers are usually socially comfortable, but depression can make it difficult. 

  • They may isolate themselves, spend more time alone, and avoid social interaction.
  • They might express feelings of worthlessness or believe they are a burden on others. 
  • Depression can make it harder to manage emotions, causing arguments and strained relationships
  1. Thoughts That Can Harm

Depression can also affect a teen’s self-perception and future outlook. 

  • They might constantly criticize themselves while focusing on flaws and failures. 
  • Depression can cloud thinking and make it hard to focus on schoolwork or daily tasks. 
  • Thoughts on self-harm or suicide are never to be ignored. If you hear comments about wanting to hurt themselves or die, get immediate professional help. 

Take The Right Action

Puberty can cause emotional fluctuations, but it shouldn’t disrupt a teenager’s life. If you notice any of these signs lasting for two weeks or more, it’s time to take action. Start a conversation with your teen. Let them know you care and are there to listen without judgment. A therapist or counselor experienced in adolescent mental health can support and develop coping mechanisms.

The Closing Thought

Depression is a real medical condition, not a weakness. By talking openly and honestly about mental health, we can help teens feel less alone and more comfortable seeking help. Let your teen know you are there for them, and you’ll help them find whatever support they need. Validate their feelings and listen to them whenever they need to.

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