Symptoms of Depression in Teens

Depression, Mental Health | 0 comments

Depression is a serious and common mental health struggle amongst teenagers in Massachusetts. Often misunderstood and hard to identify in others, it can have a profound impact on a young person’s life if left untreated. Recognizing the symptoms of depression in teens is not always easy. Oftentimes, teens will hide symptoms of depression or suffer internally from negative emotions. However, recognizing symptoms is crucial for early intervention to get your child or loved one the support that they need. 

Feelings of Sadness or Hopelessness

One of the biggest indicators of underlying depression is persistent sadness or feelings of hopelessness. While it’s normal for teens to experience occasional sadness, depression involves feelings that persist for weeks or even months. Teens may express a sense of despair or believe that things will never get better. Being aware of when your teen expresses these feelings can help you recognize this symptom of depression faster, getting them the help they need before it gets worse. 

Withdrawal from Social Activities

Depression often leads to a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. People suffering from depression may withdraw from social events, hobbies, or sports. Social withdrawal can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness, further perpetuating the cycle of depression. Through seeking treatment, your teen can learn coping skills for depression to help them manage a schedule of activities and other wellness practices.

Changes in Sleep Patterns 

Exhaustion does not always indicate depression. However, sleep disturbances are common in teenagers with depression. The link between fatigue and depression is not always recognized easily, as each teen suffering from depression may express different symptoms. Some may struggle with insomnia, finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep, while others may oversleep, experiencing excessive fatigue during the day. These disruptions in sleep patterns can impact mood and energy levels.

Irritability and Anger 

While depression is commonly associated with sadness, it can also manifest as irritability or anger in teenagers. They may become easily frustrated, agitated, or even hostile towards others. These mood changes can strain relationships with family and friends. If you notice your child lashing out at you or others, or notice a dramatic change in their mood, it may indicate an underlying struggle with depression. Create a welcoming and supportive space for your child to express their emotions to you, and listen intently when they express negative feelings. This will help you have a greater understanding of when you need to seek help from a mental health professional or depression treatment program

Decline in Academic Performance

Sometimes, the symptoms of depression may not be noticeable in your child’s moods. People suffering from depression often hide their emotions from others. However, it may be noticeable through their actions instead. A dramatic decline in academic performance or sudden drop in academic performance may indicate negative emotions. These emotions prohibit your child from excelling in school, as it can make it harder to focus or work hard when these emotions are prevalent. 

Not every drop in academic performance is due to mental health struggles. However, if there is a consistent decline in performance or a drop in academic performance that is out of the ordinary for your child, it may indicate an underlying struggle. Communicate with your teen about how they are feeling in a safe and empathetic manner when there is a noticeable change in their performance. They will feel more comfortable expressing their emotions in a supportive atmosphere. 

Physical Symptoms

Depression can also manifest through physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, self-harm, or other unexplained aches and pains. These physical complaints may not have an apparent medical cause but can be indicative of underlying emotional distress. Consult with your child’s doctor about any struggles with physical symptoms. They may be able to help you determine when it’s time to consult with a mental health professional, as they will be able to determine whether there is an underlying medical cause or whether it may be caused by emotions instead. 

Where to Seek Treatment for Teen Depression

There are plenty of treatment options available for teens suffering from depression. For teens who seek treatment that allows them to continue going to school, an outpatient treatment center may be the ideal option. Intensive outpatient treatment programs allow teens to seek treatment throughout the week while continuing to go about their daily lives. These programs are ideal for adolescents who do not require a residential treatment program. For those with severe depression or symptoms, it may be best to consult with a doctor or a residential treatment center to undergo mental health treatment.

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