Just like anyone else, teens encounter stressors in life that can trigger depressive symptoms. Most teens have active lifestyles that include academics, socializing, extracurricular activities, homework, part-time jobs and more. This can cause teen depression symptoms.
It is likely teens will feel the ups and downs of their emotions. Some days will be great, other days will be tough. It’s important to notice when a teen’s moods and emotions shift from typical to potentially diagnosable depression.
Below are ten of the most common teen depression symptoms. Getting help for these teen depression symptoms early may prevent any further mental health problems
1. Changes in Peer Relationships
Teens have friends. These peer relationships play a crucial role in shaping how your teen develops. Often, peer relationships are positive and have a healthy influence on your teen. Occasionally, peer relationships can become unhealthy.
If your teen has begun to switch to an unhealthy peer group, one that pressures your teen to participate in negative behaviors, this can be a symptom of depression.
2. Loss of Interest Caused by Teen Depression Symptoms
A teen that has no interest in anything is likely suffering from depression. Most healthy teens are interested in many things, from sports to electronics to love. It is during this time they are trying to find themselves and figure out their role in life.
If your teen refuses to take part in ordinary activities, or wants to spend most of their time alone, this is a sign of depression.
3. Change in Performance
Over time, your teen has performed in a certain way. For instance, they may have received honor roll grades every year. Or, they may have excelled on the soccer field.
If their performance in such areas takes a turn for the worse, for no apparent reason, they may be suffering from depression. If suddenly they are failing classes or skipping practice sessions, this is a sign of trouble.
4. Physical Changes
Symptoms of depression can affect how a teen takes care of themselves. Meaning, a teen who once took great care in hygiene and appearance, may not care about things like brushing their hair or showering if they are feeling depressed.
How a teen dresses can also change if they are feeling depressed. Some teens may stop caring whether their clothes match or are clean. Other teens may switch their clothing to the opposite of what they once wore. When a preppy dressing teen suddenly switches to wearing all black clothing, or vice versa, there may be a mental health issue.
5. Negative Self-Thoughts
If a teen begins expressing negative statements about themselves or their future, depression may likely be a reason. If not dealt with quickly, these types of thoughts can lead to more damaging thoughts and behaviors.
Not always, but there are times when teens think ending their life would be better for them. Suicide is a grave issue. If your teen is having thoughts of suicide, they need help immediately.
If they are not suicidal but think life, or their future, is bleak or grim, they still need help for this symptom of depression.
6. Physical Ailments
Depression can cause a teen to have aches and pains that are otherwise unexplained. If there are no other medical reasons for a teen who is having joint aches, headaches, stomach issues or even insomnia, then depression is a probable cause.
Other physical problems that can represent depression include the inability to sit still, wringing hands, pacing, weight loss or gain, and slowed speaking or body movements. Furthermore, if your teen makes frequent visits to the school nurse, take notice as this could be related to depression.
7. Risky Behaviors
Teens with depression can exhibit risky behaviors. This may be because risky behaviors can produce a high or feeling of reward by boosting the happy chemicals in the brain. These include dopamine and serotonin, among others.
Risky behaviors may include consuming drugs and alcohol, sex, and even self-harm. Self-harm does not equal having suicidal ideations. However, it can mean your teen is seeking a way to express their feelings. This is a clear sign of mental health issues that need to be addressed.
8. Aggressive Attitude
Many teens can be depressed but act out in aggressive ways. If your teen gets angered easily and throws tantrums or has outbursts, this could be a sign of depression. Teens do not always know how to pin point what they are feeling. Because anger is sometimes for familiar, they will act out in anger, even if they are feeling sad and alone.
Teens may also behave aggressively with undeserving family members, friends or even strangers. They can even act angry towards themselves. Helping your teen learn to express the right emotions, in the right way, if essential.
9. Memory and Concentration Issues
Depression can become overwhelming. It can affect how you think and feel. It can even cause a teen to experience memory loss. You may notice them forgetting important academic deadlines, such as when reports are due. In addition, they may also forget important family dates like birthdays or meetings.
Even if they do not experience memory loss, depression can make it hard for your teen to focus or concentrate. You may find them staring out the window while you are trying to have a conversation. While this can be frustrating to you, it can be just as stressful for your teen.
Another sign to watch out for is if your teen has difficulty making decisions.
10. Family History of Mental Illness
This may not be any of the observable teen depression symptoms but if your family has a history of mental illness, it is important you take this into consideration. Heredity can play a significant role in whether a teen will be exposed to the same issues.
The more you know about your family’s mental health history, the more you can do to take preventative care on your teen’s behalf. You can get them help at the start of any signs of depression.
Mental health professionals who specialize in adolescents can help you and your teen recognize and overcome teen depression symptoms.