Even though a great deal of scientific research has been done on depression over the past several decades, many people still operate under the unfortunate and misguided assumption that depression is a condition that is simply created in a person’s mind. On the contrary, it is a proven fact that depression is the direct result of a chemical imbalance in the body that ultimately leaves those who suffer from depression feeling helpless, constantly tired, and generally unmotivated. In extreme cases, depression can lead to self harm and even suicidal thoughts or actions. Learn about the Common Signs of Depression in Teens!
This, of course, is not to say that depression cannot be brought on by external factors. In fact, it is often a traumatic life event that triggers the chemical imbalance that causes depression to occur in the body. Going through a trying emotional time in one’s life can cause depression. Unfortunately, teens are among the most susceptible to the condition due to the emotional situations many teens find themselves in as they grow and mature in addition to rapidly fluctuating hormone levels in the body.
Signs of Depression in Teenagers
Whether you have a teenager of your own or simply know a teenager personally, the fact remains that you should always be on the lookout for common signs of depression. Many of the most common signs of depression in teenagers align with symptoms commonly found in adults. However, it can often be difficult to distinguish between what is often considered to be normal behavior in teens and what is considered to be potential behaviors of an emotionally distressed or depressed teenager. At the end of the day, you should use your instincts to determine whether or not you think a teenager may be suffering from depression. Hopefully you know him or her well enough to determine what is common behavior and what could be a red flag.
One of the most common signs of depression in teens is general fatigue or lack of energy. Of course, teens are known for sleeping a lot and generally being “lazy,” but if you begin to notice that your teen has even less energy than usual, this may be a warning sign. Specifically, if your teenager is suddenly passing up chances to partake in activities that he or she once loved in favor of staying home and sleeping or holing up in his or her room, then this may be a sign of depression. For example, if your teen used to spend a lot of time out of the house with his or her friends but has recently began to stay home on the weekends and on week nights, then it may be wise to speak with him or her and find out why this may be the case.
Increased agitation is another common sign of teenage depression. Of course, a teenager’s hormones can easily cause him or her to become easily agitated without depression necessarily playing any kind of role. However, if you begin to notice that your teen has become increasingly hostile or angry towards you, other family members, or friends, then this could be a sign of serious distress. Often times, a teen who goes on angry outbursts seemingly out of nowhere is doing so subconsciously as a cry for help.
A less common but still serious sign of teenage depression is that of unexplained body aches and ailments. Many people are under the false assumption that depression is a purely emotional issue, but this could not be further from the truth. In teens, depression can wreak serious havoc on the body, causing muscle aches, general weakness, stomach aches, and body pains. If your teen has been complaining of feeling ill with no real explanation, even after having taken him or her to the doctor, then you may need to explore the possibility of him or her suffering from teenage depression.
Finally, if it seems as though your teenager becomes easily upset or discouraged when receiving even the most constructive of criticism, then this could be a sign of depression. Often times, teenagers suffering from depression have a very low level of confidence and self esteem. As a result, any kind of criticism, even the kind that is meant to be helpful, can come off as very hurtful and difficult to accept.
What Causes the Signs of Depression in Teens?
As mentioned above, depression is the result of a chemical imbalance, but this can be further complicated and even initiated by traumatic life events. This could include anything from being bullied in school to going through a death in the family. The bottom line is that if you believe a teenager you know is suffering from depression, you should speak with him or her right away so that you can get the teen help that is needed.