teen-depressionIt’s more than an occasional bad mood. It’s more than being sad every now and then. It’s more than having a bad day and being irritable. Teen depression is a serious problem that can lead to some rather serious consequences.

The teen years are tough, for sure. Most teens are able to figure out a life balance even in these topsy turvy years. When teens are depressed, it’s more than the ups and downs of adolescence. Depression happens when an overwhelming feeling of sadness or anger is present more often than not. Often, withdraw from friends, activities, and family members is a part of teen depression. Here are 10 signs to look for:

  1. Sadness more days than not
  2. Irritability or anger
  3. Withdrawal from friends or family
  4. Tearfulness or frequent crying
  5. Loss of interest in activities
  6. Lack of energy
  7. Unintentional weight gain or loss
  8. Sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
  9. Problems concentrating
  10. Thoughts of suicide or death in general
Teen depression can be accompanied by behavior problems. Problems at school, violence, reckless behavior like drug or alcohol use, and suicide attempts are some of the potential consequences of depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013, 17% of teens seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months and 13.6% actually made a plan during that time period. They also report that suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 – 24. It is serious!

17% of Teens Seriously Considered

Suicide in the Past Year

What can parents and caregivers do?

Fortunately, there are several ways to help teens who are depressed. It is important to remember there are no miracle cures. It may take a combination of strategies to help your teen overcome depression.

Talk to your teen

A lot of parents are afraid of making the problem worse if they discuss it with their teenager. Since teen depression often results in increased irritability, this is understandable. However, it is important for parents to be involved. The key to talking with teens, about nearly any issue, is to be understanding and non-judgmental. Let’s face it. Your teenager doesn’t want to feel depressed. Hearing a lecture about all the reasons they shouldn’t be is not going to be helpful. Don’t judge them. Listen to them. You will probably learn some things you didn’t know about your son or daughter.

See your doctor

While there are risks, antidepressant medications may be an option . The benefits and risks must be considered. Your physician can refer you to a child and adolescent psychiatrist if necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Make sure you are well-informed about the side effects and possible risks of antidepressant use with teenagers.

Get a counselor

In mild-moderate cases, counseling alone can help resolve teen depression. In more severe cases, a combination of counseling and medication may be required. Currently, cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy have shown to be the most effective for depression. Make sure the professional you’re seeing keeps you involved in the treatment process. This may mean getting general updates or family therapy. Keep in mind your teen likely wants some level of confidentiality from individual therapy sessions. Trust the professional to give you important information while respecting your teen’s privacy to a reasonable degree.

The most important thing we can do for teen depression is to take action! Don’t wait!

Feel free to contact us if we can be a resource to you. We will be more than glad to help!