Is your teen depressed? How to tell

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Teenagers go through a lot of hormonal and social changes that can cause high stress levels and “the blues.” But, sometimes it’s more than that. Some teens actually have depression, which is a real mental health disorder that needs treatment.


These are some signs of depression in teens:

•  Being angry or irritable a lot

•  Feeling sad all the time

•  Unexplained headaches, stomach aches or other health problems

•  Avoiding family and friends

•  Not finding enjoyment in things they like

•  Being tired all the time

•  Sleeping a lot or sleeping very little

•  Change in eating habits or appetite

•  Drop in grades or missing school

•  Using alcohol or drugs


If you notice your teen is acting different, reach out to them. Try to find out if they need some help from a counselor or a doctor. Some teens have depression without any obvious symptoms.


Always take any threats of suicide seriously. If your teen talks about hurting themselves or suicide, get them medical help right away. Or, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifetime at 1-800-273-8255.


Risk factors for depression in teens

These factors may increase the risk of depression:

•  A family history of depression or anxiety

•  Stressful life events like a death in the family, a breakup or a move to a new place

•  Low self-esteem or being very critical  of themselves

•  Having a learning disability or a  chronic illness


Try to talk with your teen often. Ask how they are feeling and how things are going at school or work. If you’re concerned, talk to them about seeing a doctor to get screened for depression.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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