Teenagers face a host of pressures, from the changes of puberty to questions about who they are and where they fit in. The natural transition from child to adult can also bring parental conflict as teens start to assert their independence. With all this drama, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between depression and normal teenage moodiness. Making things even more complicated, teens with depression do not necessarily appear sad, nor do they always withdraw from others. For some depressed teens, symptoms of irritability, aggression, and rage are more prominent. Let’s take a look at some signs and symptoms of teen depression:
–Sadness or hopelessness
–Irritability, anger, or hostility
–Tearfulness or frequent crying
–Withdrawal from friends and family
–Loss of interest in activities
–Changes in eating and sleeping habits
–Restlessness and agitation
–Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
–Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
–Fatigue or lack of energy
–Thoughts of death or suicide
If you’re unsure if an adolescent in your life is depressed or just “being a teenager,”consider:
•how long the symptoms have been present
•how severe they are
•and how different the teen is acting from his or her usual self.
While some “growing pains”are to be expected as teenagers grapple with the challenges of growing up, dramatic, long-lasting changesin personality, mood, or behavior are red flags of a deeper problem. There are many resources in the Bay Area, including Adolescent Counseling Services, designed to help with these issues. Please click on our resource tab above to find out more information.
On Wednesday, we’ll be examining drug and alcohol usage among adolescents.
Commentary by ACS Executive Director, Dr. Philippe Rey