7 Things Parents Probably Don’t Know About Teen Depression

teen depression
As those with depression can feel like they are sinking into themselves, know the warning signs of teen depression (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

People often have a picture in their mind of what depression “looks like” but when that picture doesn’t line up with reality, it can keep people from getting the help that they need.  This is especially true when talking about teenagers who are dealing with depression.  Many parents simply don’t have the information they need to know when their teenager is acting out, like teenagers do, and when their behavior indicates a bigger problem.

More than half of all teenagers with mental health issues go untreated, it is important for parents to educate themselves about mental health issues during the teen years so they have the information they need to help their child if it becomes necessary.  To aid in that education, here are 7 things most parents don’t know about teen depression.

  1. Being “Depressed” and Having Depression are Different Things

Depression isn’t the angsty, moody behavior many teenagers experience on their way from adolescent to adult.  Teenagers are often overly dramatic and their responses to things can be over the top but these things are temporary.  Depression is not.  It is an overwhelming, pervasive, all-encompassing feeling of sadness and hopelessness.

  1. Depression Wears Many Masks

Most parents expect depression in teens to look like it is portrayed in television and film, with lots of crying and wearing of black.  But in truth, teens experience depression in different ways.  Some may be irritable or angry all the time.  Others may withdraw from friends and activities or change their sleeping or eating habits.  It won’t always look the way you expect it to.

  1. Depression Doesn’t Usually Go Away on its Own

While it can happen, depression in teens doesn’t usually go away by itself.  This is actually one of the red flags parents can look for if they suspect something is wrong.  Where moodiness and drama will come and go, depression sticks around.

  1. Depression Hurts

You have probably seen the commercials that use that for their tag line and this is just as true for teens as it is for adults.  Depression can cause real, lasting physical symptoms that make it even more challenging for teens to deal with their everyday lives.  Common physical symptoms include headaches, unexplained body aches, and stomach ailments.

  1. Depression Cripples Self Esteem

Teens who are struggling with depression can become oversensitive to any kind of reprimand, criticism, or rejection.  This kind of feedback from the world around them, including friends, parents, teachers, and coaches, feeds the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness caused by the depression.

  1. Teens Don’t Always Pull Away from Everyone

Many adults with depression will pull away from everything and everyone in their lives.  This is not always true for teens.  Some teenagers will pull away from specific people while maintaining or creating new relationships with others.

  1. Depression Can Be Devastating

Depression is talked about so frequently in today’s society that we can overlook just how impactful it can be on the lives of those who struggle with it.  For teenagers, the impact can be devastating right now and for the rest of their lives.  This condition can cause problems with grades and attendance, affecting their overall school performance and impacting their college opportunities.  They may run away, use drugs or alcohol, or participate in other self-destructive behaviors that can lead to legal problems, violence, and other life-changing experiences.  This is why it is so important that parents know how to identify the signs of depression in their teens and do whatever is necessary to get them the help they need.



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