Identifying the Signs & Symptoms of Teenage Depression

How can you tell if someone is suffering from teenage depression?

The body and mind go through a multitude of changes during puberty and teenage years. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a bratty outburst and sincere anger issues. Or, in this case, whether or not your child is simply upset sometimes or genuinely suffers from clinical teenage depression.

Making the distinction between acting out and teenage depression

By no means does that statement suggest that you should hop on the phone the second your teenager starts showing signs and symptoms of ‘depression’. After all, we all have our own conceptions of what depression is, and only medical professionals should determine whether or not an individual is suffering from depression. First and foremost, it is important to monitor the individual’s behavior over time; attempt to offer different strategies or coping mechanisms to them and simply open the lines of communication.

Signs and symptoms of acting out and attention seeking behavior

Let’s take the time to determine the difference between simply acting out and the possibility of clinical teenage depression. In order to make this clear, first we will look at some behaviors of a teenager who may be engaging in attention seeking behavior:

  • Trouble in school
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Lying or manipulating
  • Excessive time avoiding home
  • Declining invitations to family events
  • Reckless or unpredictable behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Low self esteem
  • Entitlement
  • Internet or social media addiction
  • Bullying or violence
  • Signs of Teenage Anxiety and Stress

Signs of Teenage Anxiety and Stress

The interesting thing about teenage anxiety and stress is that since many of these young people have not necessarily experienced these particular feelings before, it may actually be difficult to identify them. To put it in much simpler terms, teenage anxiety and stress are essentially forms of fear.

Let us explore this concept for a minute. When a human experiences fear, typically it is over a situation or an event that has already happened and that cannot be undone, or an event that has not happened yet or may not even happen at all. In essence, those of us who are living with anxiety and stress are simply not living in the moment! These feelings of anxiety, stress and fear can manifest physically, with symptoms including:

  • Trouble in school (detention, etc.)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Lying or manipulating
  • Excessive time avoiding home
  • Declining invitations to family events
  • Reckless or unpredictable behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Low self esteem
  • Entitlement
  • Internet or social media addiction
  • Bullying or violence
  • Signs of Teenage Anxiety and Stress

Signs and symptoms of clinical teenage depression

The list above does not necessarily mean that the individual is not suffering from depression. To be sure, oftentimes those behaviors might be coupled with others that paint a clearer picture of their mental state. Now we will look at some of the behaviors and noteworthy signs of a teenager who may genuinely be suffering from teenage depression rather than simply acting out:

  • Sense of hopelessness
  • Physical pain (head, stomach)
  • Emotionally sensitive
  • Anger or being upset for no reason
  • Easily frustrated
  • Fear of rejection and failure
  • Talking about or mentioning suicide
  • Withdrawn behavior

A note about suicide and teenage depression

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For every 100,000 people under the age of 15, 12 will commit suicide each year. On top of that, for every suicide there are actually 25 attempts that fail. These numbers are staggering and nothing to take light of. This is not to say that every case of teenage depression will lead to suicide or suicide attempts, but it is a possible scenario and education can be the best type of prevention. That’s why it’s important to take note of any reckless behavior or verbal mention of suicide even if it is in the form of a joke.

Determining if someone is suffering from teenage depression

If any of the above information concerning teenage depression has rang true for either yourself or a loved one, then seeking help is the first course of action. Teenage depression, if left untreated, rarely resolves itself and oftentimes will get worse with time. Even if you may not think that depression is the problem specifically, troublesome behaviors and emotions are still issues that should be addressed and dealt with properly.

Helping versus seeking help for teenage depression

The first and foremost important step is opening up a dialogue with the teenager who may be suffering. Listening-not lecturing or informing-is typically the best course of action. Find out what they have to say and treat their feelings and statements as sincere in order to get through to them. It may not be necessary to see a doctor or mental health specialist immediately in order to obtain an official diagnosis. Simply having a conversation with the individual can be enough to bring about relief. That being said, know when to drawn the line and seek professional help. Trust your gut. If the issues arising seem to be too far out of your league or you are unsure of what steps to take next, seeking depression treatment options is always a viable path to take. These may include meeting with a therapist, psychiatrist or another mental health professional.

Share Your Experiences with Teenage Depression

Have you experienced teenage depression, or depression of any kind? Do you have any advice for those who may be reading this article? Please comment below and leave your story! We would love to hear from you and help build and engage the Core Coaching Groups community in this very way; by sharing our stories.

About Avinash Satz, CPC

Avi Satz, CPC, specializes in helping others achieve a fulfilling and impactful life. He has years of experience in personal development and professional leadership. His passion for helping people experience breakthroughs is what founded Core Coaching Groups and the amazing community it has built.

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