Depression in teens:  More than just sadness or mood swings

Depression in teens: More than just sadness or mood swings

Teen or adolescent depression is very different from conventional sadness. Teenagers generally tend to be moody, dramatic or grouchy, which is part of the adolescence phase. However, depression in teens is real, and it is a treatable mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

How to tell if your teen is sad or depressed

Teenagers getting moody is part of a normal adolescence. During this period they go through a difficult phase in their lives, stuck between being children and adults, academic and social pressure, all with a sprinkle of raging hormones. Nevertheless, regular sadness tied to this phase comes and goes, and usually doesn’t last for more than a couple of days.

Teen depression on the other hand is significantly more extreme. The feelings of agitation, frustration, hopelessness and sadness are more deep and last for a longer period of time such as weeks, months or, if not treated, even years. A study, led by Lisa H. Jaycox, Ph.D., senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, concluded that teenagers who suffer from clinical depression experience more intense behavioral and emotional problems.

Symptoms of teen depression

According to NIMH, these are the warning signs that indicate your teen might be depressed and needs to seek some kind of help or treatment:

  • Sudden lack of energy in movement and speech. Teenagers who are depressed walk and talk slowly, to the point where they seem like they are physically manifesting their sadness and emotional pain.
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness are common. They can’t seem to be happy with their own existence, and constantly feel guilty about something they said or did.
  • They are completely indifferent to what’s going on around them. They show no interest in activities or communication with others, and if they can, they’d rather stay in their room than to go out and socialize.
  • Lack of sleep or oversleeping is another warning sign of teen depression. Either they have trouble falling asleep due to mental and emotional problems, or they oversleep because waking up every day and continuing with regular life seems too hard.
  • In extreme cases of teen depression, teenagers have thoughts of suicide or have attempted to commit it. This is definitely not a warning sign; this is the point where help must be sought out.
  • Excessive weight gain or weight loss is another usual symptom. Although at this age they are developing quickly, there’s a difference between a healthy appetite and eating routine and eating habits when you’re depressed.
  • And above all, they feel nothing but sad, hopeless, frustrated and empty.

Surveys conducted recently have shown that one in five teenagers suffer from clinical depression. And looking at the alarming rise in depression among teenagers, the Mental Health America (MHA) has advocated for prompt treatment for this serious problem tormenting the youth.

The Florida Mental Health Helpline is available 24/7 to assist people in overcoming depressive disorders. To learn more, speak to a member of our team today via our live chat online or over the phone at 866-846-5588.