Written by: Editorial team of Darmankadeh
Adolescent depression is one of the concerns of many parents when their children are growing up. Therefore, in this article, we have tried to examine the signs and symptoms of teenage depression so that you can help your child in the best way possible.
Understanding adolescent depression
Adolescence can be very difficult. In many cases, teenage depression is much more common than we think, as this illness strongly affects an individual at this age. In fact, it has been estimated that one out of every five teenagers from all walks of life will experience depression at some point in their teens. However, while depression is completely treatable, most depressed teens never seek help.
Adolescent depression is a state beyond their bad mood. It is a serious mental health problem that affects every aspect of a teenager’s life. Fortunately, depression is treatable and parents can help their child in this field. Love, guidance and support of teenagers can help them to a great extent to overcome depression and bring their life back to normal.
Is my teenager suffering from depression?
Although temper tantrums and misbehavior are sometimes to be expected during adolescence, teenage depression is something else. The negative effects of depression in adolescence go far beyond a melancholic mood.
Depression can destroy the essence of the teenage personality and make them feel sad, hopeless or angry. Many rebellious and unhealthy behaviors or attitudes in teenagers can be a sign of depression. The following are some of the emotional discharge methods for teenagers that they engage in to try to deal with their emotional pain:
- Problems in school
Depression can cause problems with lack of energy and concentration. At school, this may lead to poor levels of alertness, lower grades, or frustration with schoolwork in a student who previously had a good record.
- Escape and running away
Many depressed teenagers run away from home or talk about running away. Such attempts are usually a cry for help.
- Drug and alcohol abuse
Teens may use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to self-medicate depression. Unfortunately, drug abuse only makes things worse.
- low self-esteem
Adolescent depression can provoke and intensify feelings of ugliness, shame, failure, and unworthiness.
- Addiction to smartphones
Teenagers may resort to social networks to escape their problems. But excessive use of smartphones and the Internet only makes them more isolated and depressed.
- Reckless behavior
Depressed teenagers may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors such as reckless driving, excessive drinking, and unprotected sex.
Some depressed teenagers may become more aggressive and violent.
Adolescent depression is also associated with a number of other mental health problems, including eating disorders and self-harm.
While depression can cause great pain for your teen and disrupt daily family life, there are many things you can do to help your child recover from these feelings, hence the first step is to learn what teen depression is and what to do if you see warning signs.
Signs and symptoms of adolescent depression
Unlike adults who have the ability to seek help on their own, adolescents rely only on their parents, teachers or other caregivers to recognize their distress and get them the help they need.
However, this is not always easy. First, depressed teenagers don’t necessarily seem to be sad at face value. Instead, the most prominent symptoms may include irritability, anger, and agitation. Other symptoms of teenage depression include the following:
• Irritability, anger or rage
• Frequent crying
• Withdrawal from friends and family
• Loss of interest in participating in activities
• Poor performance in school
• Change in eating and sleeping habits
• Restlessness and irritability
• Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
• Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
• Fatigue or lack of energy
• Difficulty concentrating
• Unexplained pains
• Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression in adolescents compared to adults
Depression in teenagers can be very different from depression in adults. The following symptoms are more common in adolescents than in adults:
- Irritable or angry mood
As mentioned, the dominant mood in depressed adolescents is usually irritability rather than sadness. A depressed teen may be moody, violent, frustrated, or prone to outbursts.
- Unexplained pains
Depressed teenagers often complain of physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches. If a complete physical examination does not reveal a medical cause for these pains, it may indicate depression.
- Extreme sensitivity to criticism
Depressed teenagers experience feelings of worthlessness, which makes them very vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure. This is a particular problem for “perfectionists”.
- Withdrawal from some, but not all people
While adults tend to isolate when depressed, teenagers usually keep at least some friends. However, teenagers with depression may socialize less than they used to, withdraw from their parents, or become more intimate with another group.
Teenage depression or growing pains?
If you are not sure if your teen is depressed or if it is just a “teen” thing. Note how long the symptoms have lasted, how severe they are, and how much your teens have changed from their usual state
Hormones and stress sometimes explain teenage tantrums. But the discomfort, lethargy, or irritability is not continuous and unrelenting.
Warning signs of suicide in depressed adolescents
Teens with major depression, especially those who also abuse alcohol or drugs, often think about, talk about, or attempt suicide.
Meanwhile, an alarming and increasing number of these cases also successfully commit suicide. Therefore, it is very important that you take any suicidal thoughts or behaviors very seriously. Some of the most important of these symptoms are:
Talking or joking about suicide
Saying sentences such as: “It would be better if I died”, “I wish I could disappear forever” or “There is no way out”.
Writing stories and poems about death, dying or suicide
Engage in reckless behavior or having many accidents that result in injury
Donation of valuable property
Saying goodbye to friends and family as if it were their last meeting
Looking for firearms, pills or other ways to commit suicide
How to help a depressed teenager?
Depression is very damaging if left untreated. So don’t wait for the alarming symptoms to disappear by themselves. If you suspect that your teen is depressed, discuss your concerns with them in a loving, non-judgmental way.
Even if you are not sure their problem is depression, the behaviors and feelings you are witnessing indicate problems that need to be addressed.
Therefore, it is better to start a conversation and let your teenager know that you have noticed some symptoms of depression in them and that these symptoms are worrying you.
Then ask your child to share with you their experience. Be ready and willing to hear it. Avoid asking too many questions, as most teenagers do not like to feel controlled or pressured. But make it clear that you are ready and willing to give them whatever support they need.