Would you like to know the signs of depression in teens? Adolescent depression is one of the most pressing issues facing adolescents these days. And the social and educational disruption caused by the pandemic hasn’t helped either. This is especially true since the teenage years are already a time of upheaval as drastic physical and mental changes occur.

In her “Psychology Today” article entitled Adolescents and Depression—Part 1, Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA shares the following: 

“If you’ve raised an adolescent, or remember that phase of your own life, you’ll probably agree that it’s a time of tremendous turbulence and change.” 

While the increased independence that naturally occurs at this stage can be healthy, so much change in such a short time can feel overwhelming to your teen. Added to that challenge can be the ever-increasing pressure to fit in socially and the need to succeed as a young adult.

All of this added stress and change can result in discouragement and sadness in your teen. Situational loss and trauma can significantly contribute to this sadness too. And if that sadness goes on long enough and is severe, clinical depression can result. There are several potential indicators that your child could be struggling with depression. 

Having a few of these signs may not mean depression is the cause. However, if you notice a reoccurring theme when looking over these symptoms, it could be time to get in touch with a mental health professional near you. Let’s take a look at some common symptoms of depression in teens.

Signs of Depression in Teens

When it comes to teens and depression, here are some potential symptoms to keep in mind. 

Ongoing Sad Mood: A consistently sad or anxious mood is a potential depression symptom. Some teens also experience a feeling of complete emptiness or like they can’t feel anything.

Irritability: Because teens with depression regularly struggle to feel good about themselves, irritability and anger often result. A drop in feel-good chemicals such as serotonin only adds to the likelihood of ongoing moodiness or irritability. 

Body Fatigue: Teen depression depletes your vital energy, sometimes making even the simplest tasks seem exhausting. Consistent fatigue that won’t go away even with proper rest could signal depression in your teen.

Mind Fatigue: Just as the body feels regularly tired with adolescent depression, so does the mind. This can take the form of brain fog, difficulty making decisions, trouble with memory, and concentration problems. 

Body Pain: There’s a common saying that ‘depression hurts.’ The drops in serotonin associated with depression make the physical body feel progressively worse, leading to aches and pains not caused by a verifiable physical health condition. Common body discomfort includes unexplained stomach pains, cramps, or headaches.

Diet Changes: Changes in diet, such as eating too much or too little, can signify teen depression. A long-term result of these changes can lead to either weight gain or weight loss. 

Sleep Changes: Either sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep can also be an indicator.

Loss of Interest: Did your teen once enjoy certain activities but no longer does? Adolescent depression can make even the most enjoyable activities seem exhausting or like a burden not worth the effort. 

Restlessness: If your teen struggles to sit still or seems restless, this is a possible sign.

Isolating: Adolescent depression often leads strugglers to isolate themselves from friends and family. Withdrawal from others is a crucial sign to keep in mind.

School Problems: Teen depression can lead to poor academic performance. Increased social problems with peers and teachers also are a real possibility. 

Hopelessness: Depression can make you feel like nothing is working in your life and that you have no hope of things improving. 

Low View of Self: Does your teen view themselves as never good enough or worthless? Or do they seem full of guilt or helpless? Low self-esteem is common with adolescent depression.

Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts: Depression in teens can lead to suicidal thoughts. The more severe cases can also lead to suicide attempts. It’s essential to seek immediate help if your teen is contemplating suicide and has a plan. 

Not Only Teens Are Affected by Depression

Although teen depression is well-documented, it’s also important to remember that the symptoms of depression in children and depression in young adults are also a possibility. The unique pressures placed on children in our increasingly fast-paced culture has only accelerated such concerns. 

If some of these symptoms sound familiar to you for your pre-teen child or college-aged one, it’s also wise to consider therapy for depression. Potential signs of depression in children and young adults often parallel those experienced by teens. 

Do Some of These Signs of Depression in Teens Sound Familiar?

If so, it may be an excellent time to schedule a counseling session for your teen. Through therapy, your child will discover evidence-based ways to manage their depression better. As a parent who’s watched your child struggle, this can be a huge relief to know your teen is getting the help they need. 

The Relationship Center of Orange County provides a variety of counseling options, including adolescent counseling. Whether you’re looking for a child therapist, teen therapist or young-adult counselor, our compassionate and highly trained team can assist you. 

We serve the following California regions

Feel free to reach out to us to schedule an appointment. Scheduling with us is always quick and confidential. Even if you live outside of these regions, we still may be able to assist you through virtual counseling (teletherapy).