Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



October 2010

Warning Signs of Teen Depression

by Staff, on at risk youth, bipolar disorder, major teen depression, seasonal depression, teen depression, teen depression warning signs, teen dysthymia, warning signs of ten depression

We covered the teen depression statistics in the last post, but to understand teen depression better and to take the first step in dealing with teen depression we need to learn and understand the warning signs.

We all feel sad or even moody, that is normal, but that doesn’t mean we are depressed. Depression is when those feelings stick around for a few weeks or even more. Since it is normal for teens to be sad or feel down we fail to recognize depression, and teens are left without proper help.

The most terrifying forms of teen depression are bipolar disorder, dysthymia, major depression and lately very popular, seasonal depression. Major depression is a great feeling of loneliness and sadness that lasts at least two weeks and it usually causes sleeping problems, eating issues and even school problems for the teen. The most common warning signs of major depression are crying for no reason, constantly feeling sad, feeling useless, apathy, lack of interest and a great desire to be alone all the time. Additional warning signs of major teen depression include:

-    Mood swings
-    Inability to concentrate
-    Eating problems, weight shifts
-    Sleeping problems, insomnia
-    Extreme sensitivity
-    School absence
-    Behavioral issues
-    Delusions
-    Suicidal thoughts

Unlike major depression dysthymia is less sever, but it is a great issue because it lasts much longer than major depression. All of the above warning signs apply, but they will be presented in a milder form, but for a longer period of time, usually not less than a year. What you especially need to look for are constant sadness, hopelessness, low confidence, lack of self-esteem, sleeping issues, fatigue, concentration issues and severe change in eating habits.

Another form of depression developed by teens, about 2% of teens with depression issues, is bipolar disorder. The issue is more sever as the bipolar disorder borders between mania and depression. The usual warning signs of teen bipolar disorder are:

-    Lack of sleeping
-    Sudden bursts of energy
-    Increased movement
-    Lack of appropriate social behavior
-    Bursts of ideas
-    Sudden burst of emotions
-    Lack of proper judgment
-    Speeding thoughts
-    Disorganized behavior

The last one is seasonal teen depression. This form of teen depression is less common, but again a great number of teens go through this as well. All of these warning signs apply to teens with seasonal depression, but it lacks only through one part of the year, which is in most cases winter. This is most likely a physical condition, although more research is needed to prove that theory, but it has to do with lack of sun during the winter which in return causes low levels of melatonin and creates physical signs of depression.

If you find your teen with more of these signs repeating over a certain period be sure to seek professional assistance. Over 80% of teens with depression can be treated, so make sure to act immediately as the sooner you react the better the chances of treatment. Staff