Teenagers who are diagnosed with depression often feel low about themselves or they don’t believe in their self-esteem. Young people should take this problem seriously because depression can affect a teen’s

  • Relationships
  • Physical health
  • Ability to succeed in school

In the United States, the second leading cause of death for teens is suicide, and the major risk factor for suicide is depression. That’s why teens should consider this problem seriously.

Every year, the percentage of teenagers who are experiencing the symptoms of depression is 13%. Based on a 2018 study, there is a sharp rise in teenagers who are diagnosed with depression and it is up by 47% in boys and 65% in girls.

Depression is curable but it can make teenagers feel like sadness, hopelessness, and moodiness. In order to reduce the symptoms of depression, people who are suffering from depression need social support, and parents’ support along with the right treatment.

What are the symptoms of teen depression?

The symptoms of teen depression differ from teen to teen and the symptoms may change from time to time. Some symptoms are expressed uniquely by teens.

Anger, feeling sad all the time, thoughts of suicide or death, trouble feeling happy, sudden changes in eating habits, lack of pleasure, sleeping too much, feeling anxious all the time, insomnia and feeling of guilt, shame, worthlessness are the common symptoms of teen depression.

What are the indicators of teen depression to look for in a teenager?

There will be no difference in the symptoms of teen depression and adult depression. However, the main problem here is teens, are not expressive and they try to hide their feelings, and emotions but on the other hand adults are expressive and may take good care of themselves and looks to prevent the problem. That’s why parents or guardians should take care of their teen and look for the possible signs of teen depression.

Following are the signs of teen depression and parents needs to look for:

  • Abrupt stoppage of once-beloved activities
  • Not mingling with the people
  • Not going out to parties
  • Getting anger for no reason
  • Not performing well in their studies
  • Sleepy all the time
  • Neglecting favorite foods and friends
  • Frequent complaints about various aches and pains that have no evidence that they are caused medically.

Sometimes, a teen’s mood can be unpredictable due to the following reasons:

  • Facing pressure at home
  • Unable to perform well in the school
  • Failed to form any type of relationships

The teenagers can be blatantly moody. They might be going through a huge amount of coercion at school and at home, also fighting to get into social interactions and get an identity for themselves. They can also experience the effects of the psychological needs of teenage.

Few caretakers and parents misunderstand the depression in teenagers as ordinary teen mood swings. The distinctions in these are as follows

  • The teenager’s mood swings vary from cheerful or thrilled behavior to depression showing high levels of anger, hopelessness or retreat
  • Generally, teenagers will be looking to have an identity distinct from their family. They often try not to engage in family events and display irritable behavior towards their parents or caretakers.
  • Usually, when the teenagers experience a loss of trauma they might get into a stage of severe sadness or anger. Normally, if the teenager is experiencing these feelings for more than two weeks this can be considered as an indicator of depression.

What are the possible complications of teen depression?

Increased levels of teen depression can make you feel helpless and may compel you to do self-harm and even suicide. Suicide is the most serious complication of depression.

Running away from home, relationship problems, sleep issues, legal issues, substance misuse, health problems such as headaches, stomach aches, other unexplained aches, and pains are the possible complications of a teen who are suffering from depression.

What is the treatment of teen depression?

Depression is a complex disease, and there is no specific treatment that can cure depression. Doctors choose treatment options based on the person and how severely the person affected with depression. Generally, doctors choose psychotherapy as their treatment option for teens who are suffering from depression. But teens also require medication along with psychotherapy in order to balance the chemical imbalances in the brain. Medication and therapies are frequently involved in the course of action.


There are different types of medications treats the problems of depression, but antidepressants are the most common medications prescribed by doctors to patients.

The effects of antidepressants vary from person to person, so a teen has to try different types of medication before he/she finds a suitable drug for them.

It is your physician’s job to find suitable medication for you.


Psychotherapy is the best treatment option for every individual who is diagnosed with depression. Just like medications, there are various types of psychotherapies. Following are the common examples of psychotherapy

CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy): This therapy will try to change the negative thought patterns in depressed people and teach them how to cope and deal with these negative thoughts.

(IPT) Interpersonal therapy: This therapy will teach depressed people to assess their interactions with normal people and try to make them improve.

(PDT) Psychodynamic therapy: This therapy lays emphasis on a person’s unconscious processes and apprehending one’s feelings originating from past experiences.

What are the other treatment options for teen depression?

Lifestyle changes, family counseling, brain stimulation, psychoeducation, and complementary medicine are the other treatment options of depression. Let’s discuss these points in detail

  • Lifestyle changes: Teenagers might get relief from depression by making certain changes to their lifestyle such as doing exercise regularly, healthful eating, and traveling, etc.,
  • Family Counseling: Family problems are one of the causes of depression that’s why all the family members should listen to the teen and understand what he is saying and find if there are family problems that are contributing to his problem.
  • Brain Stimulation: Doctors recommend this therapy only when other treatments are failed to improve the condition of the teen. It is a group of treatments involved with electro conclusive therapy, which triggers the brain to reset itself.
  • Psychoeducation: This therapy is all about providing information and educating the people who are going to receive mental health services such as mental illness, terminal illnesses, etc.,
  • Complementary medicine: Some teens may get positive outcomes by doing yoga, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic along with medication. These are considered as the traditional depression therapies and people should use these along with the prescribed medications but they shouldn’t follow these therapies as an alternative.

How to prevent teen depression?

Experts once thought that depression is a non-preventable disease, but with the new researches, it has been observed that prevention of this disease might be possible. Even doctors are unable to explain the preventive measures of depression.

The following are certain protective factors that can reduce the risk of depression. These include

  • Support from parents and caregivers
  • Abuse-free family environment
  • Absence of trauma and abuse
  • Access to prompt
  • Quality treatment

When to see a doctor

Depression is a serious illness that requires proper care and medical treatment. If you think your teen is suffering from depression or showing any signs of depression, you should immediately call your doctor or take your teen to a physician or pediatrician.

If you are providing treatment to your teen for the depression problem, you need to take a second opinion or call your treatment provider if:

  • Your teen is not responding to the treatment
  • Your teen is unable to bear the after-effects of the medication
  • Your teen is getting suicidal thoughts frequently
  • The signs of your teen’s depression are appearing to get worst.

What is the role of parents or caregivers in the prevention of depression?

First of all, parents and caregivers need to do some research about depression regarding the symptoms of the disease and how depression can change their teen behavior before giving counseling to teens about their problems.

Following are the important facts of depression that parents and caregivers need to know:

  • Judging and punishing your teen may not prevent his problem
  • You have to be friendly with your teen as he/she might feel uncomfortable to discuss their feelings with you
  • Shame and feeling guilt are the main causes of depression
  • Teens are unable to find the way-out of their problem

Depression cannot cure by the family and friends. That’s why only a professional can help your teen to treat the problem. It is the parent’s job to find a suitable therapist for their teen.

Advocating for the teen, listening to your teen without judging him, accepting the teen as they are, and focusing on positives are the other ways to support teens with depression.


Depression can make the teen’s life miserable and unbearable. If you are a parent or caregiver contact a mental health professional immediately when you are noticing the signs and symptoms of depression in your teen.

You should know that only quality treatment can change the life of your teen.


  1. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60871-4/fulltext
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/apa.13299
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/03009730903572057
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