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While teenage girls are more likely to have faced depression than their male peers, they are also more likely to have received treatment by seeing a professional or taking medication. Among teen girls who had recent depressive episodes, 45% received treatment for depression over the past year.
Depression has become increasingly common among American youths, especially teen girls, who are now almost three times as likely as teen boys to have had recent experiences with depression
What is teenage depression?
It’s normal for young people to go through ups and downs. Their sad feelings can last several days. When they’re sad, teenagers sometimes have trouble sleeping, eating, concentrating or getting motivated.
But depression is more than just sadness or moodiness – it’s a serious mental health disorder.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between normal sadness and depression. You can start by looking at:
- how long the emotions and behavior changes have lasted – if your child shows certain emotions like sadness or behavior like being overly tired and often irritable for more than two weeks, it might be depression
- how strong the emotions are and whether they’re there all the time, or come and go
- how much the emotions and behavior are affecting your child’s schoolwork, relationships, physical health, enjoyment or everyday activities.
Common signs of teenage depression
Sometimes teenage depression might be hard to spot. But there are some common thoughts, emotions, behaviors and physical changes that are signs of depression.
Your child might:
- have trouble concentrating and solving everyday problems
- find it hard to make decisions
- seem forgetful and have trouble remembering information
- have negative thoughts that are hard to change or ignore, including thoughts about self-harm, death or suicide – for example, your child might say, ‘Life’s not worth living’ or ‘I can’t do this anymore’.
Emotional and behavioral signs
Your child might:
- feel sad, tearful, moody or irritable – your child might say they feel ‘empty’ or ‘numb’
- not be interested in or not enjoy activities that they used to like
- have angry outbursts that are out of character
- feel worthless, or feel guilty and blame themselves for things – for example, your child might say, ‘It’s all my fault’ or ‘I’m a failure’
- stop contacting or seeing friends or going to social activities – for example, your child might not want to go to a friend’s party, or your child might say that they feel lonely.
Your child might:
- feel tired, unmotivated or low in energy
- be eating too little or overeating, which is causing changes in their weight
- have vague or unexplained physical problems – for example, stomach aches, nausea or headaches
- have sleeping problems – for example, insomnia, oversleeping or staying in bed for most of the day
- not feel rested after sleep.
Your child might have more than one sign of depression. The signs might be ongoing, or they might seem to come and go over a period of weeks or even months.
School problems or behavior changes can hide an underlying mental health problem. That’s why it’s important to seek help from a health professional if you have any concerns about your child’s emotions or behavior.
Getting help for teenagers with depression
Depression is unlikely to go away on its own, but teenagers with depression usually get better with treatment. This means that seeking early help for your child is the best thing you can do.
Seeking help also shows your child that you care. Talking to your child and seeing a health professional together sends the message that your child isn’t alone. And most young people won’t seek help themselves, so your child probably needs your help to get professional support.
If you’ve tried to talk to your child, but your child has refused help or said there was nothing wrong, you might need to seek help by yourself to start with.
If you have an emergency situation, please call 911. If there is any information that is not listed or you need help with resources, please call or email us as firstname.lastname@example.org or (725) 696-7230. We will put you in touch with the right people to help you and your daughter.
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…because every girl should believe she matters.
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1500 E. Tropicana Ave., Suite 107 | Las Vegas NV 89119 | 725.696.7230