Depression Home > Signs of Teenage Depression

There are a number of possible symptoms or signs of teenage depression. Some of these symptoms include sadness or crying that you can't explain, feeling negative or not caring about anything, not being able to focus or make a decision, and major changes in the way you eat (such as not eating or over-eating). If your teenager has more than a couple of these depression symptoms for two weeks or longer, or if any of these symptoms get in the way of school or family life, he or she may be suffering from depression.

Signs of Teenage Depression: An Overview

There are many changes taking place in the body of a teenager. Combined with emotions, these changes can be very overwhelming. A teenager might feel like he or she is in a great mood one minute and a bad mood the next. This roller coaster of emotions is normal. It's okay to have the blues sometimes -- and there are things you can do to feel better.
There is a big difference between having the blues and having depression. Depression is a serious illness that affects many young people.

Specific Signs of Depression

Because normal behaviors vary from one stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a teenager is just going through a temporary "phase" or is suffering from depression. Sometimes the parents become worried about how their teenager's behavior has changed, or a teacher mentions that "your child doesn't seem to be himself." You may now be asking yourself, "How do I tell if my child is depressed?"
If your child has more than a couple of the teenage depression signs or symptoms listed below for at least two weeks, or if any of these symptoms get in the way of school or family life, he or she may have depression.
Specific signs of depression can often include:
  • Feeling negative or not caring about anything
  • Sadness or crying that you can't explain
  • Sleep changes, such as sleeping more or having trouble sleeping
  • Being crabby, angry, worried, or nervous
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Major changes in the way you eat, such as not eating or over-eating
  • Not being able to enjoy the things you usually enjoy
  • Not being able to focus or make a decision
  • Thinking about death or about committing suicide
  • Not wanting to spend time with your friends
  • Feeling restless or tired most of the time
  • Missing school or performing poorly in school
  • Aches and pains that do not get better with treatment.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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