The teenage years can be a turbulent time for a family. Teens are going through physical and emotional changes, facing peer pressure more than ever and spending more and more time living in an online world. With all of this going on, how can depression in teens be identified? It is important to note, one in 20 teens suffer from depression.
First of all, teenage depression disguises itself differently and can be harder to detect than in adults. It is common for a teen to ride the emotional roller coaster, resulting in moodiness and irritability. There isn’t a hallmark symptom that points directly to teen depression, but it is important to notice changes in behavior. Take note of changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping more or less. Is your teen eating too much or not enough? Is your teen withdrawn or expresses lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed? Take note of an increase in irritability and aggression. If your teen’s behavior has changed suddenly and symptoms have been present for at least two weeks, it may be time to seek treatment. Depression is treatable with cognitive-behavioral therapy and if needed, anti-depressant medication.
Answer the following questions to help determine if treatment is needed for your teen.
Instructions for the Depression Test for Teenagers
Considering the last two weeks, note whether you would agree or disagree with the following teenage depression test statements:
1. I am sad, depressed or feel like sulking almost every day.
2. I have been in trouble at school.
3. I find schoolwork more difficult than usual.
4. Everything is bad; I see everything in a negative light.
5. Everyone is getting on my nerves; I feel grouchy.
6. I feel like no one likes or understands me.
7. I feel unimportant, worthless.
8. Other members of my family have been diagnosed with depression.
9. I don’t find pleasure in anything I used to enjoy.
10. My weight has changed or I’m eating more/less than usual.
11. I can’t get to sleep or I feel like sleeping all the time.
12. I feel restless.
13. My whole body feels slow.
14. I have no energy.
15. I constantly think of death or suicide.
Scoring the Depression Test for Teenagers
If you agreed to seven or more of the above teen depression test statements, and these feelings impact everyday life, you may have a depressive disorder. Note this depression test for teens is not designed to indicate other disorders like eating disorders or substance use disorders.
If you suspect you may be depressed or have another mental illness, you should seek the help of a trained health or mental health professional who can medically screen for teenage depression.