Teen Depression Symtpoms and Help

Teen depression is a serious mental health issue. Here we provide some of the symptoms of teenage depression and advice for parents and teachers for helping a depressed teenager.

The teenage years are traditionally perceived as fueled by hormones, thus, the seemingly manic swings in mood from elation to depression. It is teenage depression, however, that must be provided with the most attention as it is a serious mental condition with an equally somber impact on the teenager's life.

When it is left untreated, depression can lead to destructive behavior that may ultimately cost the life of the teenager and of others. Fortunately, treatments for depression in teenagers are available from counseling to familial support.

The trick is in providing such treatments at the soonest time possible, which is tricky in itself as teenage depression can be easily dismissed as the occasional blues. There is also the matter of the teenager not being able to ask for appropriate help mainly because they fail to recognize their symptoms as depression.

While teen depression needs to be diagnosed by a professional, if you know the warning signs and symptoms of teenage depression you can extend help and support in the treatment process.

Symptoms to look out for

When doctors perform reviews of medical history, physical examinations and other personal interviews to determine if a diagnosis of teen depression is warranted, the teenager's symptoms will be considered in light of many factors. These symptoms will be ascertained as to their duration, severity and frequency since teenagers will go through growing years when a few of the symptoms of depression are also present.

Psychologists and psychiatrists will consider dramatic, sudden and significant changes in personality, mood and behavior as aggravating circumstances to the diagnosis of depression in teenagers.

Not all teenagers will manifest these symptoms and not all of these symptoms will manifest in a teenager with clinical depression.

  • Feelings of hopelessness and sadness
  • Hostility, irritability and anger
  • Easy shedding of tears for even the littlest things
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Loss of interest in many activities
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Lack of energy
  • Short attention span
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits, which may be polar opposites (too much or too little eating or sleep from previous habits)

But the most disturbing symptom of teen depression is thoughts of self-mutilation, of suicide and of death. Many teens will act on these thoughts as a call for help but, sadly, adults may see it as just a phase of the teenage years.

Helping a depressed teenager

Adult parents and relatives must take immediate action to counteract whatever negative effects teen depression has wrought on the individual.

There are many ways to extend help to a depressed teen, of which the following are the most important:

  • Talk to the teen. Be gentle, supportive and compassionate while listening and then validating the feelings of the individual.
  • Consult with the family doctor to rule out any underlying medical condition and medications that ay be worsening the symptoms of depression.
  • Seek out a specialist in juvenile depression. Therapy may take the form of medications, counseling and familial support.

The most important thing in helping an individual with teen depression is to offer unconditional support for whatever he/she is going through instead of being judgmental. Even the best therapies of modern medicine are insufficient to heal depression without the support, affection and love of family and friends.

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