Signs of adolescent depression often differ from adult symptoms
Teens face many challenges and pressures as a natural part of their development. We expect some difficulty in facing these issues, including changes in moods and behaviors. So how can we determine when these changes go beyond what is considered a ‘normal’ part of development? How do we know when a teenager is depressed and in need of Mental Health treatment?
According to a 2016 study 10-15% of teens have had a depressive episode, and the rate is increasing. Symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode include:
Some differences in how teens experience depression compared with adults can make it more difficult to recognize. Because peer relationships are the center of adolescent development, teenagers are less likely to withdraw from friends or become socially isolated when depressed. While depressed adults often withdraw from social relationships and activities, teens are more likely to withdraw from adults than peers.
While adults are more likely to become emotionally withdrawn and turn inward when depressed, teens are more likely to act out through expressing anger and irritability. This can lead to teens becoming more defiant and argumentative, especially toward adults.
Because teenagers are still developing a full awareness of themselves and their bodies, they may be more likely to experience somatic symptoms than adults. These include frequent stomachaches, headaches, and other body pains that are not related to any physical condition or cause.
Due to normal developmental processes that occur during adolescence, it can be difficult to determine whether or not an adolescent is suffering from mental illness. If you notice signs of Depression or are worried about your teenager’s behavior, contact a Mental Health Professional for more information.
-Laura Gross, LMSW
Laura Gross is a fully licensed social worker who specializes in teen mental health issues. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marsh Psychology Group: 248-860-2024