Find out what the most common symptoms of teen depression are and what you can do about restoring your health so you can get back to feeling your usual self.
Each and every one of us experiences the feeling of being blue or "down in the dumps" at some point in our lives and the truth of the matter is, it's perfectly normal to feel unhappy or even sad every once in a while. If, however, you find yourself always feeling moody, miserable, unhappy, dejected, irritated, or distressed be aware—you might be suffering from teen depression.
We understand how difficult it can be, particularly for young people, to admit suffering from teen depression. By all means, it can be a dark, lonely, and for many young people an embarrassing condition to admit going through.
Those who experience it, often try to hide it, and those who don't avoid wanting to talk about it. Yet, depression is a serious illness that needs careful attention—no matter the age or situation.
How Serious is Teen Depression?How serious of a health issue is Teen depression specifically? According to statistics published by TeenHelp.com, amongst teens and young adults in the United States alone, depression is the most common mental health disorder with 10—15% having symptoms of teen depression at any one time.
MedlinePlus, the website of the National Institute of Health, supports the claim revealing that as many as "1 in 5 teenagers have depression" at one point or another. A startling realization if you consider that out of five of your friends, statistically speaking, there's a good chance one of you has depression.
Feeling Blue or is it Teen Depression?Taking all of this into consideration, you might be asking, "Am I just having a bad day, or is it depression?" Good question. If something's gone wrong or upset you, chances are it's just a bad day or just an incident that has left you feeling down in the dumps. Especially true if those sad or upset feelings go away fairly quickly, and you're able to move past them.
However, as recommended by WebMD;
"If you're experiencing depressive symptoms, such as loss of motivation and you become completely socially withdrawn for more than two weeks, do what you can as soon as possible to seek help from a healthcare professional."
Symptoms of Teen DepressionIf you're a teenager and feel you have depression, chances are you will be dealing with a combination of the following symptoms most of the time. These symptoms include:
- Being overly sensitive to criticism
- Constant sadness
- Feeling hopeless
- Frequent crying
- Always irritable or hostile
- Agitated and restless
- Problems concentrating
- Always tired
- Changed eating habits (overeating or not eating enough)
- Rebellious behavior
- Withdrawal from most friends and family
- Low self-esteem or feeling worthless
- Poor body image
- Unexplained pain or aches
- Thoughts about suicide or death
- Using drugs or alcohol
- Drop in grades
Causes of Teen DepressionAccording to Mayo Clinic, depression is caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry, hormones, or genetics—so being at risk of depression is just like being at risk for cancer or other diseases.
Nobody ever tells someone with cancer to "just get over it." So, if someone tells you to "just get over it," it's time to find somebody else. Someone who's in your corner, who can help you get the help you need.
After all, sometimes the people you love may want to help but don’t feel equipped to—especially if they’ve never experienced depression themselves. At times like this, it’s important to seek outside help whether it be a school counselor or a therapist as they can help you identify with your feelings and help you work through how to deal with them.
Why Might I Have Depression?There are plenty of reasons why teenagers can suffer from depression.
Things like low self-esteem, a family history of depression or other mood disorders, the death of a family member or friend, parents separating, family issues, being bullied, a relationship break-up, problems in school, difficulty socializing with others, learning disabilities, or even a chronic illness.
This Sounds Like Me. What Do I Do?While everybody has a bad day, it's important to recognize depression as early as possible because, as stated by Mental Health America
"If depression is left untreated, it can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening"If you are always feeling low or unhappy—seek help. There's absolutely no shame in telling someone you trust that you might be suffering from depression. Regardless of what you hear others say, it's not a sign of weakness or a sign of weak character to ask for help.
Even if those around you don't understand what it is you're going through, it's important not to try to handle depression on your own.
HelpGuide.org's 'Teenagers Guide to Depression' suggests talking to an adult you trust, whether it's your parents, a teacher at your school, a coach, a doctor, or even a friend's parent.
A lot of the time, the person you talk to may already suspect that you're going through depression and need help so let them know about it. In such circumstances, people who really care about you will often be only too ready to listen and want to help in any way they can.
Remember, depression is much more widespread than you might think, and you are certainly not alone. When reaching out, don't accept anyone denying your experience and your pain. If an adult doesn't take you serious enough, find someone else who will. Stay strong, have courage, and reach out to those around you.
Talking to Your ParentsIt's completely understandable how difficult it can be to talk about depression with your parents. However, know that it's not just you who feels that way.
For most parents, learning that their teen is going through depression is a scary thing too. Despite their fears, most parents will want to talk with you about it so reach out and let them know.
When we're close to a person, a person we share our hopes and dreams with, it can be difficult to recognize what they are going through—and for your parents, it's the much same.
See also: Positive Thinking Strategies for Living a Happier Life.
If your parents haven't suspected any difference in how you are feeling, show them a list (like the one above) of depression symptoms and explain how you are experiencing them, for how long, and most importantly, let them know you need help.
Remember, if you or a friend are suffering from depression, seek help. If you're going to get back to feeling like yourself, you need to treat the cause and the symptoms of depression carefully. Only by treating depression with an approach that is right for you, can you get back to feeling your usual self.