The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry estimates that 6 percent of teenagers in the United States are clinically depressed. A 2002 Brown University Study reports that many symptoms of depression can go unrecognized by parents. These figures show why it’s important to be able to recognize signs your teenager is depressed. Teens often do not talk to their parents about how they are feeling. There are several warning signs to look for in a teenager who may be depressed.
We all have them, feelings of sadness, a sense of hopelessness or despair. For teenagers, these feelings can be compounded by the anxieties they face dealing with peer pressure and the need for acceptance. Adults sometimes mistakenly think that teenagers do not have reason for depression or sadness. The teenage years are often the most difficult. If your teen seems overly sad, it could be an early warning symptom of depression.
Trouble Making Decisions
Depression often makes decision-making very difficult. Your judgment becomes clouded, and decisions that should be very simple, such as deciding what to wear, may become a major ordeal. Teenagers facing depression will often ask advice for seemingly simple decisions. Having trouble focusing and making decisions is a warning sign of depression.
Extreme anxiety over situations real or imagined can be very disturbing to teenagers. They may not understand what is going on or why they feel this way. The anxiety often does not seem to be related to any real situation the teen is experiencing.
The tendency to not talk to parents about the feelings they are having can even make the anxiety worse, as they may feel they are facing this situation alone.
A classic symptom of depression is lethargy. Your teen may appear uninterested in his surroundings, friends and family. An excessive need for sleep could be a warning sign of depression.
Sudden Falling Grades
When former honor students suddenly start getting failing grades, that’s a warning signs of depression among teenagers. This may be caused by their inability to concentrate and the lack of interest brought on by the depression.
The first step in getting help is realizing that your teen has a problem. Do not ignore the symptoms of depression. Talk to her and make an appointment with your local mental health clinic for an evaluation.