It is normal to feel sad and moody at times. However, with clinical depression, a sad or bad mood can last for weeks, months or even longer.

Depression affects more than a person’s mood, as it affects how people act, their energy, sleep and eating habits, and how they perform at school, college or work as well. If people are depressed, they may find it difficult to enjoy things like before.

Teen depression is a serious psychological health problem that can cause a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how one thinks, feels and behaves and can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. The symptoms of depression can be different in teens and adults.

Due to issues like negative body image, peer pressure and academic expectations, many teenagers are vulnerable to depression. Depression can lead to high levels of stress, anxiety and, in the most serious scenarios- suicide.

Depression is not a weakness that can be solved with willpower- it can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. Teen depression can be managed with counselling and medication, therefore dealing with teenage depression appropriately is extremely important.

Teenage Depression Symptoms 

Often people with depression have a noticeable change in their thinking and behaviour. It also includes a change in your previous attitude and behaviour that can result in significant distress including problems at school or home, in social activities and in other areas. Some of the teenage depression symptoms are:

Emotional Changes

Emotional changes due to depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness, including crying for no apparent reason
  • Frustration or anger, even over the smallest of matters
  • Feeling hopeless or empty
  • Irritable or annoyed
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Fixation on past failures
  • Exaggerated self-blame and self-criticism
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection and failure
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating and making decisions
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

Behavioural Changes

Changes in behaviour include:

  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Social isolation
  • Changes in appetite- low appetite or high cravings for food
  • Unexplained or sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Use of drugs or alcohol
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Less attention to personal hygiene or appearance
  • Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behaviour
  • Unexplained body aches and headaches
  • Poor school performance
  • Frequent absences from school
  • Self-harm
  • Making a suicide plan or attempt

Dealing With Teenage Depression

If you think you are depressed:

  • Talk to an adult in your life. This can be your teacher, parent, mentor or school counsellor. Let them know what you are feeling. Talking to someone can help you feel more hopeful and less alone.
  • Talk with your doctor or mental health expert like a psychologist. Many schools have in-house counselors. Or you can ask a trusted adult to set up a visit for you with a psychiatrist. Your doctor and therapist can diagnose and treat depression.

If you don’t have an adult you can talk to, reach out on a helpline.