Symptoms of Teen DepressionDepression in teenagers is more than just having the "blues" now and then; it is a persistent condition in which teenagers may suffer from low self-esteem and have a hard time getting along with others or coping with everyday activities and responsibilities.
But symptoms of teen depression can be hard to read. Signs and symptoms can be similar to those that occur as part of growing up. For example, you may mistake a sleep disturbance, which can be a symptom of depression, for a late-night television habit; or your teen may only reveal her sadness in writings that contain morbid themes. Teens may say they are "bored" when, in fact, they are depressed. In addition, symptoms may vary among cultural groups. Teens in some groups experience sadness or guilt; while others experience more physical symptoms, such as headaches and nervousness.
(Click Teen Depression Symptoms for a list of specific symptoms and signs, as well as some questions to ask that may help you determine whether your teenager has this condition.)
How Is a Diagnosis Made?In order to make a diagnosis of depression in teenagers, the healthcare provider will ask a number of questions and perform a complete physical exam. He or she will also evaluate the teenager's:
- Family situation
- Emotional maturity
- Ability to cope with illness and treatment
- Age and state of development
- Self-esteem and prior experience with illness.
Teen depression and adult depression are different illnesses, due to the developmental issues that teenagers face. Teenagers experience the condition differently, and they may show different symptoms. However, if your teenager is showing four or more symptoms for longer than two weeks, he or she may be suffering from teen depression.
(Click Diagnosing Teen Depression for more information.)