The occasional bad mood isn’t uncommon during the teen years, so teen depression can sometimes be hard to spot. But knowing the symptoms and causes can allow you to seek out treatment for your teen. Here’s what you need to know about teen depression.

Symptoms of Teen Depression
Girl with blonde ponytail sitting on a couch looking away from the camera with teen depression.

Depression will have a noticeable change in your teen’s thinking and behavior.

Teen depression can disguise itself as normal “mood swings” due to teen angst or puberty. This can mean it’s often not caught until something more serious happens, such as serious risk-taking behavior that leads to harm or a suicide attempt.

Depression will have a noticeable change in your teen’s thinking and behavior, which can cause an overwhelming sense of sadness, despair, or anger. They may also have no motivation and become withdrawn, sleep excessively, or change their eating habits. Here are some more signs of depression in teens to be aware of (even though they may or may not show all signs):

  • Apathy
  • Sadness, anxiety, or feeling of hopelessness
  • Unexplained crying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irresponsible behaviors – like skipping school or forgetting obligations
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Changes in sleep – either sleeping too much or not enough
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Rebellious behavior
  • Negative self-talk
  • Talk of death or suicide

There are multiple reasons why a teenager might become depressed. Some reasons include:

  • Bullying
  • Social exclusion
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Biochemical imbalances
  • Genetic predisposition to depression

Because teen depression can have so many causes and mood swings can be so common in teens, it can be difficult for a parent to recognize the signs. If you believe your teen is depressed and want to know what is contributing to it, go to the source and talk to your teen. They may give you an answer, or they may not know themselves. Either way, keeping the lines of communication open with them is important and can allow you to get them the help they need.

How is Teen Depression Treated?

Teen depression is commonly treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat depression in teens. CBT focuses on addressing the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Teens learn to identify negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones.

Antidepressants can be an effective way to treat teen depression. It’s critical to note that antidepressants carry a black box FDA warning of an increased risk of suicidal thinking in children and young adults under the age of 25. If this treatment is used, teens should be carefully monitored by doctors and parents, particularly in the first few weeks of treatment.

How You Can Help

There are many ways you can help your teen with depression. Educate yourself about depression so you can have a better idea of what your teen is going through. Be available to listen and encourage your teen to talk to you about things that might be bothering them. And most importantly, seek help from a mental health professional. Some teens who are suffering from depression do not want help. Even if your concerns are met with resistance, it’s important you seek help for your teen. Oftentimes, helping them understand what it’s for, what to expect, and that you’re there for them and want them to get better will make them feel more comfortable and accept treatment.

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We are here to get your teen the help they need.

At Equity Associates, we are here to get your teen the help they need. Our therapy services are highly personalized for one’s unique needs and with our usage of telemental health, those seeking treatment can do so in the comfort of their home. We’re based in Ridgway, Colorado but can help those anywhere in the state. No matter what, we’re always here to support those who need us.

Click here for more on depression therapy.