By: Katelyn Braatz
Stress. We all experience it, whether in its positive or negative forms. Sometimes, however, we tend to underestimate the amount of stress that teenagers experience. There are numerous stressors specific to teenagers, including: dating, extracurricular activities, money issues, family issues, relationships with friends, expectations from others, tests and homework, owning a car, and so on.
Teenagers may experience feelings such as sadness as a result of these stressors. This is a completely normal response. If, however, the emotions or feelings engendered by this stress are so intense that they tend to last for long periods of time, they can impact the teenager’s functioning in school or other areas of life, and may be a sign of something more serious, such as depression. If you suspect that this might be the case, it may be a sign that it’s time to seek a licensed professional to assess the teenager for possible interventions to address the issue.
Signs of Depression
There are many symptoms of depression, which can be quite different from each other. Here are some to look out for:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Losing interest in social and extracurricular activities
- Displaying a lack of energy
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Feelings of sadness for much of the time
- Significant weight fluctuations
- Sleep pattern changes
- Physical pains and aches, or sickness, even though there is nothing physically wrong
- Indifference about the future
- Uncharacteristic pessimism
- Guilty feelings
- Lowering self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts
- Behavioral changes:
- frequent crying
- withdrawal from friends and family
- angry outbursts
- changes in sleep
- changes in appetite
- alcohol or drug use
- a drop in grades or frequent absences from school
- self-harm (e.g., cutting or burning)
- suicide attempt or planning a suicide
It is very important to note, however, that although a person may be exhibiting some of these signs, that does not necessarily indicate that they are experiencing clinical depression. It is very important to seek a licensed professional’s opinion in order to assess the severity of the symptoms to see if it is something that should be addressed clinically.
If you or someone you know has suddenly started exhibiting these symptoms, contact us to set up a consultation with one of our therapists and figure out how we can help.