Teen depression: what is normal?

Your Child and Teen
Teen depression: what is normal?

Many teens experience unhappiness at some point during adolescence. Navigating social, academic and extra-curricular pressures can take a toll, sometimes leading to irritability and moodiness. At times you may observe your teen spending more time in his room, or sleeping more than usual.  She may get frustrated easily or seem discouraged.

We know that hormonal changes can be a culprit, and certainly some of this can be considered normal teenage behavior, but at what point do you consider if your teenager is, in fact, depressed? In addition to the behaviors above, here are some things to look out for:

  • Appetite changes
  • Low motivation
  • Conflict with peers
  • Avoiding others
  • Negative comments about themselves
  • Lack of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Persistent physical complaints

More serious behaviors include:

  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Self-injury – cutting, scratching
  • Criminal activity
  • Using drugs or alcohol

The good news is that depression is highly treatable when proper care is given. Start by talking to your teen and letting him or her know that you’ve noticed the changes in his/her behavior. If the symptoms persist for more than two weeks or if your teen exhibits any serious behaviors, it may be time to seek professional help.