How Do I Know If My Teen is Depressed?

Teenagers often experience difficulties, pressures, and changes in mood and emotions while developing an understanding of who they are. But how do you know when your teen is experiencing more than stress and angst? How do you know if they have a mood disorder or are depressed?

Possible causes of depression

When understanding whether or not your teen has depression it is helpful to consider what some causes of this mood disorder are. Unfortunately, the answer is not clear cut and there is not one single, foolproof explanation for the causes of depression. Some factors may include:

  • Genes. At times, depression can run in the family. Pay close attention if other family members live with depression.
  • Death. The death of a close family member or friend can trigger PTSD or depression.
  • Seasonal or hormonal changes. As teens go through puberty, their hormones, and effectively their emotions, can be dramatically affected.
  • Addiction. If your child is living with an addiction this may trigger depression.
  • Biology. Deficiencies of certain chemicals in the brain can also lead to depression.

Signs and symptoms of teen depression

It’s important to notice and acknowledge any of the following symptoms you see in your teen as they may be the result of depression or another mental health condition:

  • Deep sadness, hopelessness, or feelings of worthlessness
  • Anger, hostile frustration or irritability
  • Guilt or shame
  • Frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from usual activities and relationships
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lower performance in school
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

 Seeking help

If you are wondering if your teen has depression, remember to seek professional help. Contact your family doctor or a mental health professional if you, a loved one or your teen is concerned, and encourage open communication around this topic.

Feature image wrangler / Shutterstock