It isn’t unusual for adolescents to experience a rollercoaster of emotions as they navigate some of the most confusing and conflicting years of their life. Sometimes this can make it challenging for parents to distinguish early indications of depression from regular mood swings. Unfortunately, suicide continues to rise and it remains one of the leading causes of death in adolescents 15-19 years old so we must emphasize the importance of looking out for hidden symptoms of depression. We hope this article can provide some insight for parents, friends and advocates to promote early intervention in our youth.
- Lack of interest in regular social activities
- Feeling misunderstood
- Sudden bursts of anger paired with irritability
- Extreme sensitivity to criticism
- A significant drop in grades or attendance at school
- High-risk behaviors such as shoplifting or reckless driving
- A change in sleeping patterns or trouble sleeping
- Changing in eating habits or weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawal from family and friends
If these symptoms have just begun to present in your teen, try talking to them without being judgmental or critical. Validate their feelings and make it clear that you intend to support them. If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, schedule an appointment with your family doctor and make sure they ask the appropriate screening questions to refer them to get the help they need. As parents, you are their greatest advocate.