Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

A Parent’s Guide To Teen Depression – Recognizing The Signs And Symptoms

If you’re a parent, you never want to think that your child is suffering from major depression. But, unfortunately, this is the case for many teenagers in the US. Around 12.8% of all US teenagers from age 13-17 have suffered from at least one period of major depression, which is cited as one of the reasons for rising suicide rates among teenagers and young adults.

It’s important for our kids to get the help they need. That’s why, in this guide, we’ll discuss some of the most common signs and symptoms of teen depression. Let’s get started.

What Should I Be Looking For In My Teen?

We all know that the teen years are a time of moodiness, rebellion, and big life changes – so it can be hard to tell if a child is pulling away because of these factors, or if they are really experiencing depression. Here are some of the most common signs of teen depression.

Problems at School 

Depression often can cause feelings of sluggishness, and make it difficult to concentrate. If your child is having issues at school – particularly after being a great student for years – depression could be the cause.

Low Self-Esteem

Body anxiety is normal for teenagers, but if your teen has shown signs that they’re feeling ugly, unappreciated, unattractive, and ashamed of their appearance, this could be a sign of depression.

Withdrawal From Friends and Family

Teens don’t usually withdraw from everyone when they’re depressed, but they may socialize less, pull away from their parents, or even start hanging out with a new crowd of people.

Changes in Eating/Sleeping Habits

If your teen seems to lack an appetite, or their sleeping habits have changed and become odd or concerning, this could be a sign of depression.

Lack of Motivation 

One common symptom of depression is that it affects our ability to enjoy things – even things we love. If your teen has always loved sports or video games, for example, and you start noticing that they don’t really care about them anymore, this could be a sign of teen depression.

Abnormal Sensitivity to Criticism

Depression makes teens more vulnerable. If it seems like your teen “goes off” or becomes angry if you make a slight criticism or say something wrong, this could be a sign that they lack self-worth, or feel like they are a failure.

Recognize These Signs – And Get Help

Depression in teens is common, and without treatment like counseling and therapy, there is a chance these feelings could intensify, leading to poor quality of life, and even thoughts of suicide. So be on the lookout for these signs, and get the help that your teen needs to recover, and overcome depression.