Teenagers experience depression differently from adults, which is one reason why it’s challenging for parents to recognize when their teenage child is depressed. Not only that, but teens are less likely to reveal their feelings to you. Your teenager may think their thoughts and behaviors are normal or feel too embarrassed or ashamed to speak up.
When parents fail to recognize and teenagers fail to communicate, it results in too many teenagers suffering in silence. When the warning signs of depression go unnoticed, it can lead to suicide – the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 34. It is essential for parents to recognize teenage depression symptoms so their teens can receive help as soon as possible and avoid further suffering.
The following four signs are signs that your teen could be suffering from depression:
Intense anger or rage
Higher than usual levels of anger can be a sign of depression. Your teen’s depressive anger may not be as obvious as getting into a physical fight at school. Still, it’s important to be aware that there may be a difference between your depressed teen’s behavior and that of a typical teenager testing their limits or disregarding your advice. Notice if you have been particularly on edge lately about confronting your teen because it’s been prompting more frequent or intense anger in them than usual. Notice if they demonstrate complete refusal to follow the rules at home or school.
Adults tend to experience heightened feelings of exhaustion or sadness when they are depressed. Teenagers, on the other hand, are likely to exhibit increased irritability. This warning-sign-level of irritability manifests as more than typical teenage mood swings. You may notice their patience has diminished, or they have become disrespectful and defiant.
Hopelessness can be more challenging to pick up on if your teenager is experiencing these feelings. Similarly, feelings of guilt or worthlessness tend to go unnoticed unless obvious statements are made, such as grades, sports, or friends not being “worth their effort” or circumstances “never getting better”.
In terms of hopelessness, you can also look out for your teen oversleeping or having trouble sleeping and neglecting their health or hygiene.
Withdrawal is a common symptom of depression in people of all ages. Unfortunately, depressed teens tend to pull away from the things that could help them. The good thing is withdrawal symptoms can be more obvious for parents to notice, like if their teen begins to lose interest and stops participating in the things they love.
If you notice your teen turning down or avoiding social gatherings, or losing valued friendships, pay attention. Alternatively, social withdrawal for them may also look like spending time with a new questionable peer group or engaging more in online chats as a way to escape reality.
What you can do
Experts say to talk matter-of-factly about suicide with your teens if you notice any signs. As you allow your child to express their feelings, don’t be judgmental – be available.
You might be afraid to question or “bother” your teenager, especially given their recent demonstrations of anger, disrespect, and withdrawal. But the sad reality is that the question many parents of teenagers who have committed suicide seek to answer is why? – wouldn’t you rather ask them now? It’s worth taking some time to familiarize yourself with these silent signs so that if you need to, you can be the first one to speak up.
Our team is here to help teens and adults of Seattle breakthrough depression symptoms. Reach out for support today
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