Signs Your Teenager’s Blue Mood Is Serious Depression - dummies

Signs Your Teenager’s Blue Mood Is Serious Depression

By Sarah Densmore

Anyone who’s spent time around teenagers knows they can be sad and grumpy one day and laughing and joking the next. The combination of rising hormones and never-before-encountered life experiences can cause the emotional rollercoaster that’s the hallmark of teen behavior.

However, some teenagers are overtaken by feelings of gloom. More than 8 percent of adolescents suffer from major depression. Even more tragic, many teenagers enter a blue mood and never leave. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds.

Keep in mind that depression in teens, just like adults, is often caused by a life event, such as:

  • Being bullied at school

  • Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend

  • Chronic illness, such as cancer

  • Death of a family member or friend

  • Having a learning disability, such as dyslexia

  • Moving to a new neighborhood, away from friends

  • Parents divorcing

  • Physical or sexual abuse

  • Social awkwardness or ostracism

However, the difference between adolescents and many adults is that teens haven’t yet developed the wisdom and experience to know how to weather the negative aspects of life. So, if you know a teenager who’s been exhibiting the following signs of depression for more than two weeks, he or she may need professional help.

  • Being restless and irritable

  • Exhibiting forgetfulness or an inability to concentrate or make decisions

  • Expressing feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing

  • Getting in fights or participating in other dangerous activities including alcohol and drug use, stealing, or other criminal activity.

  • Having fits of anger or rage

  • Not participating in activities that used to interest them

  • Sleeping or eating more or less than is typical

  • Suddenly having academic difficulties in school

  • Talking about suicide or death

  • Withdrawing from friends

Your local mental health agency can refer you to a therapist who specializes in counseling adolescents. Most depressed teens respond well to talk therapy. In addition, there are certain anti-depressant medications that can be prescribed for teenagers.