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Signs that your teen may be is depressed

Untreated depression can result in emotional, behavioural and health problems that affect every area of your teenager's life.

What does depression in teenagers look like? Many parents have questioned whether their teen is just having a bad day, bad week, or bad month, or if there could be something more serious going on.

Peer pressure, scholastic expectations, and changing bodies can all cause teens to experience a lot of ups and downs. However, for some teenagers, the lows are more than just passing emotions; they are a sign of depression. Teen depression is a mental health issue that can have a negative impact on your teenager’s life. It is characterised by feelings of depression, sadness, anger, and hopelessness, to mention a few.

Although many parents believe they can recognise the signs of depression in their children, this is not always the case, even for the most observant mom or dad. Teen depression is a major mental health issue that causes persistent sorrow and loss of interest in activities. It has an impact on how your adolescent thinks, feels, and behaves, and it can lead to emotional, functional, and physical issues.

Although depression can strike at any age, the symptoms may differ between adolescents and adults.

Good to know: Teen depression is not a weakness that can be overcome with effort; it has major implications and necessitates long-term therapy.

What are the signs your teen could be depressed?

Depression symptoms can be subtle and differ from one teenager to the next but here are a few common signs that could indicate depression:

Sleep changes

Changes in sleep patterns are a typical and frequently neglected indication of depression. According to Healthline, teens who are depressed either sleep a lot more or sleep a lot less than they normally do. Both of these behaviours can contribute to depression.

Alterations in eating habits

Stress, worry, and sadness can all have an impact on your teen’s eating patterns and, as a result, their weight. People have various reactions to eating. While some teens are too nervous, anxious, or depressed to eat and may suffer from a lack of eating and weight loss, others may resort to food for comfort and overeat as a result of their mental and emotional state.

Your teen is bored with everything

Distress can cause your teen to lose interest in things they typically enjoy. Teens who are depressed may appear to accomplish nothing because nothing interests them. This includes hobbies, conversations, school, sports, friends and extra murals.

Focus and concentration problems

Teens who are depressed may appear to have fragmented thoughts and struggle to focus on one subject at a time. This can manifest as slower productivity and making mistakes that they would not normally make. You may notice your teen struggles to focus during a discussion, appears disinterested in a topic that would normally retain their attention for a time, or be sidetracked when watching a movie or they usually enjoy.

Aches and pains

Although depression typically affects your mental and emotional health, it can also cause physical symptoms such as headaches and other aches and pains that cannot be explained or are not relieved by medication.

When to take your teen to a doctor

If depression signs and symptoms continue, begin to interfere in your teen’s life, or cause you to have concerns about suicide or your teen’s safety, talk to a doctor or a mental health professional trained to work with adolescents. Your teen’s family doctor or paediatrician is a good place to start. Or your teen’s school may recommend someone.  

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