Depression has no prejudices. It can affect people of any age or race. However, the number of adolescent suicides, attempted suicides, and hospitalizations makes depression a serious public health issue among teenagers.
What follows are the most common red flags of depression. If your teen has shown most of the following warning signs, seek professional counseling as soon as possible.
Everyone experiences some of these symptoms sometimes, so determining whether your teen truly is depressed is a matter of the symptoms' frequency and duration. If your child's symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks, then there is probably cause for concern.
You're depressed if you...
- Feel sad or cry a lot and the feelings don't go away.
- Feel tired all the time and have no energy.
- Feel guilty for no reason, like you're no good; and you've lost your confidence.
- Think life seems meaningless or like nothing good is ever going to happen again.
- Have a negative attitude a lot of the time, or have no feelings at all.
- Don't feel like doing a lot of the things you used to like -- like being with friends, music, sports, going out -- and you want to be left alone most of the time.
- Forget things, find it's hard to concentrate or to make decisions.
- Are irritated often and find that little things make you lose your temper.
- Start sleeping a lot more or have trouble falling asleep at night. Or wake up really early most mornings and can't get back to sleep.
- Change eating habits drastically; you've lost your appetite or you eat a lot more.
- Feel restless and tired most of the time.
- Think about death, or feel like you're dying, or have thoughts about committing suicide.
Talking about Depression
If you think you're depressed, please talk to someone! These are people who can help you:
- a psychologist
- a therapist
- your school counselor
- your parents, or a trusted family member
- your family doctor
- your religious leader
- a professional at a mental health center
More on: Teen Health and Safety