Quite often, parents misunderstand their adolescents’ symptoms of depression with “just being in a bad mood,” or “personality issues,” or “the time of the month issues,” etc. Yes, we all have those kinds of days. However, when an adolescent is depressed, those symptoms don’t dwindle with time. This is actually a mistake many parents make. Sometimes, they may think it is “just a stage” and wait it out. However, it can only get worse. As you consider the following symptoms, keep in mind that they vary in severity.

Depressive symptoms in adolescents:

  • Loss of interest and enjoyment in their favorite activities or other activities.
  • Prefer to be alone rather than with family or kids their age.
  • Have difficulty concentrating at school or other settings.
  • No interest in going to school or difficulties getting to school.
  • Poor academic performance.
  • Complains of stomachaches and headaches or other physical symptoms.
  • Tiredness and loss of energy.
  • Sleeping problems: excessive sleeping or diminished ability to sleep.
  • Eating problems: over eating and gaining weight or loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Fantasize about running away and may actually run away from home.
  • Problems with being bullied or bullying others.
  • Substance use or abuse.
  • They have plans to hurt themselves or have attempted to do so.
  • Excessive crying and sad expressions
  • Experience inappropriate feelings of guilt and shame
  • Anger and irritability.
  • Feeling worthless and wishing they were dead.
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth.
  • Feeling hopeless and despondent about the future.
  • May also experience anxiety symptoms or other mental health challenges.

When your children show more than one behavioral and emotional symptom, and these are interfering with their normal functioning, do not delay seeking professional help. Be aware that kids may not show severe symptoms of depression and still be contemplating hurting themselves.

Consider this list of symptoms seriously and consult your medical provider so your teen can start medication immediately. They may also need psychotherapy to learn skills and get back to enjoying life.