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How Do I Recognize the Signs of Depression in My Teen?

Like addiction, depression is a mental health disorder that can affect anyone of any age. Despite what some may believe, believe, teenagers are certainly not immune. In fact, teenage depression can be debilitating, affecting a teen’s behavior, physical health, daily functioning, and many more aspects of their life. This is why it is so important for teachers, coaches, and parents to be able to recognize the signs of depression in the teens within their care. 

Teenage years can be a very challenging time. There’s the peer pressure that often goes along with high school, the stress of making big decisions for the future, and the exhaustion of trying to keep up with academic expectations. Many teens may simply not know how to regulate their emotions. Meanwhile, they may not understand why they are experiencing the emotions they’re going through and want help but are too afraid or embarrassed to ask for it. 

At Sage Recovery, we strive to help teens struggling with depression, along with their parents, by providing comprehensive care and support. 

What Are Some Signs of Depression in a Teen?

Some parents may notice that their teen is not acting like themselves. However, they may be quick to explain it away by saying that moodiness and attitude changes are just common parts of the teenage years. Nevertheless, what a teen may be going through could be much more serious and may not pass without outside help. This is why it is so important to be able to recognize the signs of depression in a teen. 

In many cases, a teen will exhibit both behavioral and emotional changes. It’s important to realize that everyone experiences depression differently and the way it may present itself in one teen could be completely different from another. Some teens can do a good job hiding how they are actually feeling from everyone – even those closest to them. 

Keeping these things in mind, there are still common emotional symptoms that loved ones should be on the lookout for in a teen. These include:

In addition to emotional symptoms, there are some behavioral symptoms to be on the lookout for as well. They include: 

No parent wants to ever imagine that their child could be battling something like depression. However, it is important to recognize the signs so that if they are struggling, loved ones and supports can get them the help they need. 

What Could Be Causing My Teen’s Depression?

Many parents want to be able to point to a specific reason or cause of their depression. It may help them to feel better if they can pinpoint where this issue may have stemmed from. However, the reality is that, in many cases, we just don’t know what exact factors could be leading to a teen’s struggle with depression. Further, these factors can be things entirely out of a parent’s or teen’s control. 

For example, some factors that contribute to depression in teens include, but are not limited to:

How Can I Help My Child Who Is Exhibiting Signs of Depression?

If a loved one believes that a teen may be experiencing depression, the best thing they can do is to have an open conversation with them right away. They might be hesitant to share what they’re going through and they might even deny that they have a problem. However, it is important to let them know that they are not alone and that they don’t have to continue to feel this way. Loved ones can also suggest treatment and other resources that are available to help them find long-term relief. 

Unaddressed depression in a teen can lead to severe and tragic consequences. Some teens turn to self-harm or experience thoughts of suicide. This is why taking action quickly is so important. At Sage Recovery, we offer an adolescent intensive outpatient program (IOP) that provides much-needed support for teens who are struggling with depression and other mental health issues. This program can help teens learn effective coping skills, mindfulness regulation, distress tolerance, and much more. Learn more about this program and other ways we help teens by calling us today.

Many people try to dismiss teenage depression and other mental health issues as just typical teen behavior. However, in reality, these are issues that can lead to tragedy if they are left unaddressed. Just as often as it occurs with adults, a teen with untreated depression may turn to substance misuse to cope with the pain that they’re experiencing. They may view it as a quick fix that helps them to feel better. Nevertheless, this type of practice can quickly make things worse. Not only can it exacerbate symptoms of depression but it can lead to addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or a mental health disorder, call Sage Recovery at (512) 306-1394 for help.