Parenting: 5 Signs of Depression in Teens
It is the job of parents to watch over their kids, to be with them during the good, bad and ugly times. Most depressed teens won’t come out to say they’re depressed, the signs explained below are things you should look out for to help them get over depression.
Loss of interest in activities once thought enjoyable
It’s typical for teens to change interests over time, but if your child suddenly stops participating in activities that they’ve always been interested in, and doesn’t replace them with new interests, it can be cause for concern. This can move beyond disinterest in enjoyable activities to lack of participation in everyday tasks.
Spending less time with friends and family
One significant sign of depression is how a depressed teen begins to interact with peers and family members. He or she may be especially irritable, become angry easily, and show more verbal and physical aggression. On the other end of the spectrum, depressed teens may become withdrawn and seclude themselves for long periods of time. Time spent interacting with people is often replaced with increased time on the computer or playing video games.
Declining school performance
Declining school performance is one of the first tangible signs of a child struggling with depression. This includes decreased effort on assignments, skipping class and a lack of concern about their declining grades. Depression often causes an inability to concentrate, which also affects school performance. They may become oppositional toward teachers or other authority figures who encourage them to work, and easily stressed over ordinary tasks and assignments that they didn’t have trouble completing in the past. If a child has a job, the same symptoms can carry into their workplace.
Change in sleep and appetite
Depression is often associated with no desire to get out of bed and if they are sleeping most the day. Although this is a common symptom of depression, sleep can also be affected in the opposite way, leading to insomnia. A significant increase or decrease in weight and appetite is also a sign of depression. You know your child best to determine if your child’s sleeping and eating habits have changed slightly due to normal circumstances, or if the changes are significant and prolonged, indicating that something more serious is going on.
Self-harm and/or suicidal thoughts
Self-harm is when someone physically hurts themselves on purpose. Some common examples are cutting, scratching or burning. Attempted suicide is the most severe type of self-harm. If your child has shown these behaviors, remain calm and ask questions to gauge the severity of their thoughts. Do not overreact or become angry. This will push them further away from communicating and encourage them to hide their negative behaviors, which is the opposite of what you want.