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Signs of Teenage Depression

How do you know if your teenager is depressed? Below are symptoms of adolescent depression, although this list is not necessarily exhaustive. Your son or daughter does not need to manifest all or most of the signs enumerated to be considered depressed. A few symptoms alone, depending on their severity and duration, may indicate a mood problem. If you are uncertain or have any questions about these signs, call me to discuss your observations and concerns or to schedule an evaluation of your teen.

  • appears sad most of the time almost every day (e.g,. seems tearful) or reports feeling “down” or “blah
  • seems more irritable than is typical
  • appears extremely sensitive to criticism
  • has a loss of interest in or pleasure from most activities
  • shows a significant decrease in motivation regarding school: skips classes and/or allows grades to drop over time
  • has difficulty concentrating
  • has sleep trouble: sleeps longer than usual or has difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • has a change in eating habits: significant increase or decrease in appetite
  • appears more tired and for longer periods than usual
  • withdraws from family and friends more than is typical
  • plays video games or surfs the Internet excessively seemingly to avoid dealing with reality
  • has a marked reduction in attention to personal hygiene and/or style of dress
  • has aches and pains that do not have an apparent medical cause
  • seems restless
  • shows a marked increase in defiance
  • is enraged or excessively aggressive at times
  • commits acts of violence or vandalism
  • does not seem to care about his/her future
  • talks about running away
  • uses alcohol or marijuana (or other substances) beyond experimentation
  • engages in reckless or dangerous behavior such as driving while drinking or promiscuity
  • cuts self or performs some other act of self-injury
  • talks about death or suicide

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