Home / Health Insurance / Articles / What are the signs and symptoms of Depression in teenagers?
Dr. Ajay KohliFeb 15, 2023
Teenage Depression is a serious mental health issue. Depression can interfere with teenagers’ daily activities and affect their performance at school/college.
Symptoms of depression vary in adults and teenagers, and hence it is important for parents to know and identify them when they happen. Identifying depression at its initial stages is crucial for getting help and managing it. Read ahead to know more about the signs and symptoms of Depression in teenagers.
Depression can affect how a child functions. This can be evident in how they show no more interest in things that they once enjoyed. A teenager’s sense of awe and wonder is lost. This is an especially important characteristic for them, as wonder and curiosity are key to their learning and investing in different things. Depression can affect how the teenager thinks, feels, and behaves. It can cause emotional, functional, and physical problems.
Some of the emotional and behavioural changes observed in teenagers are discussed below.
KEY Emotional changes to look for
Feeling sad and sometimes crying for no particular reason
Feeling hopeless or empty
Frustration or feelings of anger, even over trivial things
Easily or always irritable
In an annoyed mood
Fixated to feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Fixated on past failures
Extreme fear of rejection or failure
Loss of interest to interact with family and friends
Lacks self-belief or needs excessive reassurance
Trouble thinking or remembering things
Decreased problem-solving ability
Difficulty in decision making
Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
KEY Behavioural changes to look for
Always feeling tired
Insomnia or sleeping too much
Extreme increase or decrease in appetite resulting in sudden weight gain or weight loss
Agitation or restlessness
Use of alcohol or drugs
Frequently falling ill, or complaining of frequent unexplained body aches and frequent headaches
Sudden anger outbursts
Loss of interest in personal hygiene
Self-harm or doing risky things
Because every child and mind are unique, so are the causes of depression. However, it is not entirely unknown, some of the possible reasons could be as follows.
Social status with peers
Feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy over their grades
Family life can have a major effect
Early intervention of depression is critical in teenagers because it can cause lifelong issues. It can take a toll on their self-image and impact their future. However, social learning is just as important as academic learning during adolescence. Deficits in social skills not only put depressed teenagers behind their peers, but they can also exacerbate their depression.
It is important to talk to your teenager about the signs of depression, and the damage it's causing to them. When the communication is not helping, and the situation seems to be going out of control or the teenagers seem too lost to effectively communicate with you, it is best to seek professional help.
Warning signs that indicate your teenager needs help include:
Repeated suicidal attempts
Persistent symptoms (No improvement in mental health)
Becoming totally detached with reality
Encourage your teenage child to seek help by many ways, such as:
Listening to your child
Talk to a healthcare provider
Reach out to a close friend or loved one
Encourage and provide change in environment
Yes. Depression, which typically begins between the ages of 15 and 30, can run in families.
Yes, clinical depression is a serious, but treatable, mental illness. It is a medical condition, not a personal weakness. It is also quite common.
There are no specific medical tests that can detect depression. Health care professionals thoroughly examine the teenager by conducting interviews and psychological tests. This is both done for the teenagers, their families, and close friends, if possible.
The severity of the teen depression and the risk of suicide are determined based on the assessment of these interviews. The data gathered from the interviews is also used to make treatment recommendations.
In addition, the doctor will look for signs of potentially co-occurring psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse, as well as screen for complex forms of depression such as bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness) or psychosis. The doctor will also evaluate the teen for suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Females have a higher rate of attempted suicide and self-mutilation than males, while males have a higher rate of completed suicide. The 18 to 24 age group is one of the most vulnerable to completed suicide.
Depression is treated in teenagers with both depression medication and psychotherapy.
Sometimes, the family is suggested therapy as family could be the major contributing factor for depression. Sometimes, counselling or therapy classes are also given to the schoolteachers or their peers, if they are also the cause of the depression in the teenager.
Once the root cause of depression is known, the treatment method is decided by the health care provider. Depending on the severity of the depression, the treatment can be based on antidepressants alone or psychotherapy or a combination of both. Sometimes, the child might need extra behavioural classes to improve communication and social skills.
There is no specific diet that can help with depression. But along with medications along with counselling and lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet can help boost a person's overall well-being. Such foods include the following.
Whole grain foods
Fruits and vegetables
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.
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