Teen Depression (cont.)
Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Teen depression facts
- What is teen depression?
- What are causes and risk factors for depression in teenagers?
- What are teen depression symptoms and signs?
- What are warning signs for teen suicide?
- How is depression in teens diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for teen depression?
- What are complications of teen depression?
- What is the prognosis of teen depression?
- Is it possible to prevent teen depression?
- What can family members and friends do to help a depressed teen?
- Where can teens get support for depression?
- Find a local Psychiatrist in your town
What are teen depression symptoms and signs?
Clinical depression, also called major depression, is more than sadness that lasts for a day or two before feeling better. In true depressive illnesses, the symptoms last weeks, months, or sometimes years if no treatment is received. Depression often results in the sufferer being unable to perform daily activities, like getting out of bed or getting dressed, much less working, doing errands, or socializing.
General symptoms of depression regardless of age include having a depressed or irritable mood for at least two weeks and having at least five of the following clinical signs and symptoms:
- Feeling sad or blue
- Crying spells
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Significant increase or decrease in appetite
- Significant weight loss, failing to gain weight appropriately, or gaining excessive weight
- Change in sleep pattern: inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
- Agitation, irritability, or anger
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- A tendency to isolate from friends and family
- Trouble concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Teens with depression may also experience the classic symptoms but may exhibit other symptoms as well, including
- poor school performance,
- persistent boredom,
- frequent complaints of physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomachaches,
- more risk-taking behaviors, and/or showing less concern for their own safety.
Examples of risk-taking behaviors include driving recklessly or at excessive speed, socializing with strangers or otherwise without sufficient regard for their own safety, engaging in promiscuous or unprotected sex, or becoming intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs, especially in situations in which they are driving or may be in the presence of others who engage in risky behaviors.
Parents of teens with depression often report noticing the following behavior changes in the adolescent:
- Crying more often or more easily
- More irritability or hostility than usual
- Eating changes, changes in sleeping patterns, or weight change significantly or the teen fails to gain weight appropriately for their age
- Unexplained physical complaints (for example, headaches or abdominal pain)
- Spending more time alone, withdrawal from friends and family
- Becoming more "clingy" and more dependent on certain relationships (This is less common than social withdrawal.)
- Overly pessimistic or exhibits excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness
- Expresses thoughts about hurting him or herself or exhibits reckless or other harmful behavior
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