Depression can present itself at any age, and unfortunately, is on the rise in teenagers across the United States. While it can be difficult to acknowledge that your teen may be depressed, understanding the signs of depression is key to helping your child receive proper treatment, and in some cases, is critical to preventing suicide. What’s important to understand is that depression often presents itself very differently in teens than adults. Here are some of the most common signs indicating your teenager may be struggling with depression:
Withdrawal from friends and family
One of the most prevalent signs of depression is isolation from friends and family. If you notice your teen becoming increasingly antisocial – especially if it’s outside your child’s normal behavior – this could be a sign something more serious is going on. While your teen may still maintain a couple close friendships, you may notice them becoming less involved in social activities and prefer to be alone. A major change in a teen’s social patterns is often the first indicator that something is amiss.
Severe irritability and mood swings
While it’s easy to associate sudden mood swings with typical teen angst and hormonal changes, an influx in irritability and anger can be a sign something more serious is wrong. Though depression in adults is often reflected through extreme sadness, depression in teens is frequently associated with angry outbursts, hostility and frustration. If your teen is exhibiting more intense emotions for no apparent reason, depression may be at the source.
Unexplained physical pain
If your teen has been complaining about aches or pains that have no unexplained cause, it’s time to consider the role of your child’s mental health. It’s common for depressed teens to experience frequent headaches, migraines and stomachaches especially during periods of extreme emotional turmoil. If a medical examination does not reveal any specific cause to aches and pains, it’s fair to say these ailments may be associated with depression.
If your teenager is showing one or more of the signs above, it’s important to seek proper treatment as soon as possible. Get in touch with Joseph Montaldi, LCSW, based in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 722-4714.