Whilst most of us accept that our teenagers will go through an emotional phase in life, how many of us are prepared for the possibility of teen depression? Teenage depression isn’t just about short tempers and emotional outbursts. If left untreated, it can manifest into a serious problem that is capable of crushing a teenager's personality, drowning them in an overwhelming sense of sadness, despair, or anger. Teens diagnosed with depression have described the condition as feeling hopeless in life or feeling that nothing is worth the effort. 

Unlike adults, who are able to seek help independently, teenagers are usually still reliant on parents or trusted adults to recognise the signs of depression and guide them towards treatment. Therefore, it is important for parents to be knowledgeable about teen depression, and learn what to do if you ever spot any symptoms of it in your teen. 

In serious cases, teen depression may lead to disastrous consequences, such as drug abuse, self-loathing, self-mutilation and even suicide – and we want to minimise the very possibility of it. If you are worried at this point, lighten up. As a parent, there are many ways you can help your teenager. For example, the simple action of showing that you care and offering your sincere support can go a long way in helping him or her feel better. 

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For

Teenagers have it pretty rough, from having to handle changes in their bodies to seeking their own identity and understanding who they truly are. Adding on to that, your child's transition to young adulthood can also create friction between the two of you as they start to assert their independence. 

In the midst of all this drama and emotion, your teenager and you, may feel overwhelmed, and their depression can often be mistaken as a typical mood swing. Also, what makes things worse is that some teens with depression do not even show typical signs of sadness or withdrawal from social activities. Nonetheless, here are some common signs to look out for: 

  • Sadness or a sense of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Often feeling fatigued
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Easily irritable, angered or hostile
  • Withdrawal from social groups
  • Loss of interest in favourite activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits

If your teenager displays some of these symptoms but you are still not sure if he or she is experiencing depression or simply having a harmless tantrum, think about the frequency and severity of the symptoms, and whether they are behaving very differently from their usual selves. 

While some grouses and complaints are to be expected as teenagers cope with the multiple challenges of growing up, stay sensitive to dramatic and enduring changes in their personality, mood, or behaviour, as these may be indicators of a deeper issue they are facing.

Key Takeaways

  1. If left untreated, teenage depression can manifest into a serious problem, so do be sensitive to the red flags.
  2. Some teens with depression do not show typical signs of sadness, but may instead display signs of hostility and irritability.
  3. Dramatic and enduring changes in your teenager's personality, mood, or behaviour may be indicators of a deeper issue they are facing.