Adolescent Angst Or Diagnosable Mental Health Disorder?

Is Your Child Depressed? Two Key Signs

Adolescents and teenagers in the United States are depressed. According to data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health from 2005-2014, 12-17 year olds had an increase in the likelihood of experiencing major depression throughout one year. Data came from between the years of 2005-2014. Minors were not the only ones surveyed. The New York Times reports that in 18-25 year olds there was also a drastic increase in depression, but specifically among those between 18 and 20 years old.

From the ripe age of 12 years old to 20 years old, there are a lot of changes. Biologically, psychologically, socially, and environmentally. This eight year period contains some of the most influential years for creating a permanent mark on the life of a child. Parents might have a difficult time discerning between what are symptoms of simply being a “teenager” and the symptoms of a real mental health issue. “Any parent of an adolescent has to wonder, of course, what’s the difference between ‘regular’ adolescent mood swings and teenage behaviors and these warning signs,” the New York Times article “Is a Teen Depressed, or Just Moody?” expresses. “Parents need to ask themselves how severe the symptoms seem, and how persistent. When a child really seems to have changed, you can’t just write it off as adolescence.”

Children are resilient. Like strong pottery, they can withstand the pressure of their container. Eventually, however, any little push can cause cracks. Cracks tend to break. Any number of factors could contribute. Because children are so resilient and face shame for being less than perfect, they don’t tell their parents what is going on. One of the most significant issues in mental health for adults is that they developed a disorder in childhood or adolescence that went unacknowledged. Throughout the world, millions of adults are living with undiagnosed mental illness, never made aware that they weren’t the problem.

Symptoms Of Adolescent Depression:

  • Low, melancholy mood
  • Rumination about life, meaning, and purpose
  • Obsession with things “wrong” about their lives
  • Anger, irritability, or rage
  • Interest in existential music, literature, and film
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, passions, hobbies, and pursuit of happiness
  • Changes in sleep, eating, and hygiene
  • Drop in performance at school and in home responsibilities due to forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, or lack of motivation


Mental health and “teenagehood” aren’t synonymous. Your child’s symptoms could be an indication of a greater issue. Depression in adolescence frequently precedes or accompanies substance abuse. Help is available. Call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today for information on our treatment programs providing healing care and life transformation to adolescents for substance abuse and secondary mental health issues. 1-662-598-4214.