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Signs of Depression in Teens

Depression is not always easy to spot in teenagers. One of the reasons is that the signs of depression can often mimic normal teenage behavior. Changes in mood, abnormal sleep and eating patterns, inability to stay focused, or changes in social behavior may look like typical traits of an adolescent in transition.  However, it’s also not uncommon for teenagers to be depressed. Furthermore, a young person between 13 and 19 may not know that they are depressed or have a clue how to deal with it or express it. Parents who have a strained relationship with their child may also never discover the signs of depression in teens. 

Depression: A Growing Epidemic with Teenagers

According to, a teen takes his or her own life every 100 minutes. Suicide is also the third leading cause of fatality in teens age 15 to 18. Nearly 20 percent of teens go through an episode of severe depression at least once, even if they don’t show signs of depression. Sadly, only 30 percent of teens get help for depressive disorder or anxiety disorder. Why do teens get depressed?

  • Changes in brain chemistry due to adolescent development
  • Hormones that create an imbalance in the body
  • Childhood trauma such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Peer and academic pressures at school
  • Unstable conditions in the home (finances, divorce, sudden changes like moving) 

Signs of depression in teens may stem from neglect in homes where both parents are working long hours. Drug or alcohol abuse in the home can also lead to depression. Lastly, some teens get depressed because of inherited traits or mental disorders – it’s in their DNA. 

Watching for Signs of Teen Depression

Correctly identifying signs of depression can be tricky. They can either cause parents to ignore the problem or overreact when there is nothing to be worried about. Depression is a normal part of life. At times, it can even be healthy. If a teen goes through an episode of depression, but then moves on, then they are experiencing a normal level of depression. However, teens that stay depressed or talk about how sad or droopy they are all the time may need to seek professional counseling or therapy for their condition. Have you noticed that your child is getting progressively worse? Do they live under a cloud of sadness or always seem like they are in a bad mood? If so, then talk with your child about depression. Be supportive and discuss a solution to the problem. Try to avoid pressuring your child to just ‘snap out of it.’ That type of discussion and tone rarely work. 

Depression and Addiction: Get Help for Teenager

One of the signs of depression is an addiction. Like adults, teens may turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate. They may start by binge drinking with friends on the weekend. However, it can soon turn into substance use disorder or dependency. At Destination for Teens, we offer help for identifying signs of depression, as well as treating mental illness and addiction through dual diagnosis. We can help your teen address and manage the sign of depression with our treatment programs. To find out more, call us at 877.466.0620. Schedule a consultation with a treatment specialist today.