Depression is really serious and can make you feel completely alone, sad, and can completely change your personality. Teens who used to be bubbly and full of life can suddenly become constantly sleepy and argumentative. It’s important for all parents to know some of the warning signs of depression in teenagers, because Teen Depression shows itself differently than Adult Depression.
Some warning signs include:
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Lack of enthusiasm and energy/motivation (laziness)
- Irritability and increased hostility/anger
- Suicidal thoughts & long, awkward good-byes
- Frequent crying
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Difficulty concentrating
Video: More than Sad
This is part one of a four-part series I found on YouTube. These are not Christian-based videos, but they are very helpful in painting a picture of what Teen Depression looks like. If you click the YouTube icon in the video screen it will bring the video up on YouTube’s page and you should see the following videos in the series there.
Difference Between Depression in Teens and Adults:
Most adults who struggle with depression walk around and seem downcast and self-deprecating; however, many depressed teens simply seem tired and irritable. While most adults isolate themselves from others because of their depression, many teenagers actually increase the amount of time they spend with their friends. The reason for this (according to what I’ve read) is because they feel that adults cannot understand the depth of their pain and inner-struggles, but their friends can – so they isolate themselves from adults, but not from their peers. Another difference between Teen & Adult Depression is that teens often become more aggressive and argumentative whereas adults tend to become more isolated and withdrawn.
Some Statistics: (from teendepression.org)
- About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood.
- Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time.
- About 5 percent of teens are suffering from major depression at any one time
- As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer from depression for at least a year at a time, compared to about 5.3 percent of the general population.
- Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode. 20 to 40 percent will have more than one episode within two years, and 70 percent will have more than one episode before adulthood. Episodes of teen depression generally last about 8 months.
- Dysthymia, a type of mild, long-lasting depression, affects about 2 percent of teens, and about the same percentage of teens develop bipolar disorder in their late teenage years. 15 percent of teens with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder.
- A small percent of teens also suffer from seasonal depression, usually during the winter months in higher latitudes.
Resources/Websites for More Info:
- This is the best site I’ve found so far and has a very thorough treatment on this important topic. There’s also a great list of categorized links on this page.
- Statistics about Teen Depression.
- Teen Depression in Guys
- Teen Depression in Girls
- Teen Depression & Violence
- Teen Depression & Suicide
- Teens & Antidepressants
- Cutting & Self-Injury
One Final Note: Depression & Faith
Many Christians feel that they are not “allowed” to admit they struggle with depression, and therefore never seek out the help they need. Don’t fall prey to this thinking! It is not a sin to struggle with depression. Depression is not in God’s design, but we live in a fallen world with death and sickness and natural disasters (none of which were in God’s original design). Seek the help you need (which may be medicine, it may not), but make sure you are seeking Jesus Christ first. Calling out to God for help does not mean that you will immediately be “healed” or “fixed” – and that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your faith or that God doesn’t care about you anymore. Seek God first, and seek the help He has put around you through other people.