Adolescence is a time of significant change, as teenagers find their place in the world, within their family and with peers. During the transition from being a child to an adult, there can naturally be conflicts that arise within the family. Teenagers can be working through issues of independence, boyfriends/girlfriends, peers, school work etc. There is a lot going on for them! During adolescence, teenagers can present as moody and irritable, and for this reason, depression in this age group, can sometimes be missed and difficult to differentiate from typical teenage moodiness.
Depression in teenagers should not be taken lightly. It is more than just being in a bad mood. It can leave teenagers feeling hopeless and can affect all aspects of their life. Depression can sometimes also be missed because other factors may present with feelings of sadness, including school refusal, behavioural issues, eating problems and poor academic performance. It is also important to note, that in children and adolescents, sadness can present as irritability, hostility and anger.
Here are some of the signs of depression in teens:
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness – tearfulness or frequent crying
- Reduced interest in normal activities – adolescents can withdraw from friends
- Changes in eating or weight – significant weight loss (not from dieting) or weight gain
- Changes to sleeping – difficulties sleeping or excessive sleepiness
- Restlessness or difficulty concentrating
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
It is important that your teen feels supported, not judged and has the opportunity to talk to someone that they trust. If your child or teen requires support, please contact Kids At Max on 03 9702 4447.
Written by Kids At Max – Psychologist