Teen Depression

What is Teen Depression?

Teen depression is a mental health disorder that causes teenagers to feel persistently sad. In addition to affecting how they feel, behave, and think, it can create problems in the way they function as well as physical and emotional issues. The condition is not something that can be overcome with willpower alone, and it can have long-term complications that can ultimately affect a child’s adult life.

Teenagers face a lot of outside pressure from school, peers, and the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies. This can cause them to experience mood swings varying in levels of happiness and sadness. For most, the feelings of depression are temporary. However, some teenagers are sad more often and for longer periods of time than is typical of the age group. When activities the teen usually enjoys are not able to improve their mood, the condition needs to be examined by a medical professional.

What are the Symptoms of Teen Depression?

Sometimes a sudden change in a teenager’s behavior is immediately noticeable. Other times, it is gradual and not so easily spotted. Teens who are experiencing depression often exhibit a wide array of symptoms such as:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Hostility
  • Anxiety
  • Frequent crying
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Loss of interest
  • Poor academic performance
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of self-worth
  • No motivation or enthusiasm
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Unexplained aches
  • Apathy
  • Irresponsible behavior
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Promiscuity
  • Rebellious behavior

How is Teen Depression Treated?

Teen depression can be treated with a variety of therapies depending on the source and severity. In the majority of cases, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is very effective. Teenagers with severe depression or who are at risk of harming themselves might need to participate in outpatient treatment programs or stay in the hospital until their symptoms improve.

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Last Reviewed:
October 11, 2016
Last Updated:
August 10, 2017