Teenagers are known for keeping their emotions bottled up. This makes it even more challenging for parents to discern if their child may be struggling with depression. The key is to know what signs to look for if you are concerned about your teen’s mental health. Here are six of the most common hidden signs that may indicate that your teen is depressed.
1. Change in Eating Habits
Clearly, a noticeable and unexplained change in the weight of your teen may indicate that they are depressed. However, sometimes this change is not as easy to recognize. If you suspect that your teen may be dealing with depression on any level, it is a good idea to pay close attention to their eating habits. This change may manifest itself in suddenly eating more or less than usual or a disinterest in food that they once loved to eat.
2. Change in Sleep and Activity Patterns
Like changes in normal eating patterns, a change in your teen’s sleeping habits may be another sign that something is wrong. Depressed teens can exhibit a number of sleep disruptions, including a sudden onset of insomnia. Conversely, for some teens, the depression may manifest itself in wanting to sleep more than usual.
Sudden changes in activity level are another sign of poor mental health. While some teens may be less willing to exercise or participate in other physical activities, other depressed teens may exhibit agitation and fidgety behavior. Examples of this would be pacing the floor or wringing the hands.
3. Academic Problems
An onset of academic problems is one of the first warning signs that concerned parents may notice about their depressed teenager. Difficulty concentrating at school, a lack of participation in clubs or athletics, or faltering grades are all signs that your child may be experiencing difficulty. This sign is particularly noticeable if your teen had been a good student in the past.
A sudden change in grades or disinterest in school could be a sign of depression.
4. Complaints About Physical Pain
Teens suffering from depression may also frequently complain of physical symptoms such as pain that does not have a reasonable explanation. This includes the onset of unexplained headaches, stomach pains, or other aches throughout the body. Depressed teens may often not be able to explain where the pain is common from.
Research backs up the idea that mental health issues also impact an individual’s physical health. You would be wise to further investigate physical issues that seem to have no cause or explanation. They could be a direct result of your teen’s depression. Your child’s pediatrician is typically a good place to start as they can rule out obvious physical ailments.
5. Mood Changes
While some level of moodiness is to be expected in the teen years, extreme mood swings is a sign that there may be something more serious at play. It is not unusual for depressed teenagers to exhibit feelings of anxiety or negativity. Depression often manifests itself with feelings of hopelessness, irritability, and more.
All of these feelings can be a symptom of depression. You should consider depression therapy from a trained professional. The good news is that it is easier than ever to find help for your teen or loved one through the help of Brightside Health.
6. Withdrawal from Social Situations
A teen that is clinically depressed may also tend to withdraw from friends and family, not wanting to spend time with the people that love them. You may also notice a lack of interest in activities that they once enjoyed. As a parent, you should look for changes that indicate a resistance to socializing with others. Many depressed teens will retreat to their bedrooms and do not want to spend time with family. Other teens may no longer show any interest in hanging out with their friends.
It is not always easy to recognize the signs of depression in a troubled teen. You should always trust your gut as a parent, knowing that you know your child the best. Do not delay in seeking treatment if you suspect a serious problem with your teens and depression.
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