Three Overlooked Signs of Depression in Teenagers and Adolescents
Teenagers and adolescents go through ever evolving shifts in their attitude, interests, and personality. It can be hard for parents to tell what could be a sign of mental illness, like depression, or what is just a symptom of youth.
- Change of interests, hobbies, passions, and friends: Many child psychologists consider this to be the first warning sign of depression in adolescents and teens. Children are typically enthusiastic and deeply attached to their personal interests as they continue their journey of individuation and becoming their own person. It’s normal for children to make changes in their interests, hobbies, passions, and even their close friends. Changes, however, lead to new interests and hobbies, as well as new friends. When a shift in focus results in non-action, it should be noted with concern by parents. Completely abandoning life’s passions could be a sign a child is losing motivation, lack of passion, or willingness to participate in their life. These are all signs of depression.
- Swift social changes: Parents aren’t often worried if they’re historically introverted child becomes a social butterfly. More attention is paid when a historically extroverted child with a bright and normal social life becomes suddenly withdrawn or socially isolated. Swift changes in social life can be indicators of depression or other problems, like substance abuse. Depression is not always demonstrated through popularized examples of low-energy actions. Any behavior which seems spontaneous and counter to a child’s normal behavior should be a red flag.
- Mentions of death and/or suicide: Away from parents for most waking hours of the day, there is little control over what teens and adolescents learn, hear, or discuss with one another. Learning about famous musicians, expanding their knowledge of the world, existentially contemplating the meaning or reality of life, children learn about death and suicide. They might see it on TV, in movies, or experience the loss of a friend. General curiosity about death and suicide is common in order to gain understanding. A common symptom of depression is preoccupation with thoughts of death, dying, and/or suicide. These conversations, questions, record of internet searches, and more should be taken very seriously and confronted immediately with the guidance of a professional.
If you are a teen or adolescent and you are struggling with depression as well as thoughts of suicide, have HOPE- Hold On, Pain Ends. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Untreated depression in adolescence can lead to experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Often, depression is a sign substance abuse has already started. If you are concerned about your adolescent or teen, call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today. Our innovative establishment serving Mississippi and the south is unique, meeting the individualized needs of each client with a comprehensive treatment plan for residential treatment, recovery, academics, and beyond.
Call us today for more information or to verify your insurance: 662-598-4214.