As teens struggle through the tough transition period of childhood into young adulthood, it can be difficult to decipher a teen’s behavior. Are their out-of-control emotions and conduct a result of the natural process of adolescence, or is it something more serious?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2016 approximately 3.1 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 experienced at least one episode of major depression. Depression is a serious mood disorder that, if left untreated, can cause serious short and long-term mental and even physical health problems. Moreover, depression carries a high risk of suicide.
Below are six signs you can look for to determine if your teen could be experiencing depression.
1. Excessive Crying and Sadness
While emotions tend to run high in most teenagers, excessive crying and sadness that persist for more than two weeks could be a sign of depression.
2. Loss of Interest and Motivation
When a teen is depressed, they may have trouble concentrating. This will cause them to lose motivation and interest in activities they once enjoyed.
3. Problems at School
The loss of concentration and motivation could also result in problems at school. Skipping school, plunging grades and a lack of participation in school and extracurricular activities are all signs that could be pointing to teen depression.
4. Changes in Weight or Eating Habits
Has your teen’s eating habits changed? Are they skipping meals or eating larger portions more frequently? Eating more or less, as well as dramatic changes in weight (either gained or lost) is one of the signs of depression.
Depression causes people to isolate themselves. It’s not uncommon for a depressed teen to begin to withdraw from friends and family, choosing instead to spend time alone or locked in their room. If your teen is depressed, you may notice them begin to avoid spending time with friends and loved ones.
6. Suicidal Ideation
Thoughts or expressions of death or suicide should never be taken lightly. Threats or even jokes about suicide are a cry for help from your teen. If your teen expresses thoughts of suicide, react calmly, and then seek immediate help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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