A depressed teenager

Teenage Depression


Being A Teen, Feeling Depressed

We all know from our own experience and what we have observed that the teenage years can be turbulent,  with sometimes moodiness and out bursts of irrational rage are not uncommon. This is all part of growing through the teen years when the body is undergoing radical changes. The child in them is slowly or sometimes even rapidly morphing into an adult.

They will be like bags of overactive hormones trying to find a place in the world.

However some teens will experience a good deal of transformational difficulty which may see them suffer deep bouts of depression. We need to be alert to the signs and symptoms of the onset of depression in our teenage kids as it can impact heavily on their grades at school, their relationships with their peers and their relationship with their parents and siblings.

As parents and educators we need to learn the facts about teenage depression and be aware of the key indicators.

Knowing and Understanding these key indicators may help you as a parent or teacher to thwart the onset of debilitating teenage depression and help that young person in your world to learn strategies which will help them overcome the illness before it overcomes them.

If you are concerned for a young adult and you want to be able to help them, it will be useful to read on to know the signs, understand the illness and gain an insight into ways you can help.

What is Teenage Depression Really?

Depression in anyone is a mental illness that manifests with an overwhelming sense of sadness, extreme and uncontrolled outbursts of anger and frustration. Some teens will become reclusive and lose interest in others and any activities which might require them to socialize with other people

These symptoms are not just a flash in the pan but are behavioral signs which persist over a longer period of time. It will impact severely on their inter-personal relationships and how they interact in the world around them.

Most teens suffering depression are reluctant to ask for help or even acknowledge that they have a problem and need a caring adult to encourage them to reach out for some help to get the appropriate treatment.

Key Indicators of Teenage Depression

  • feelings of worthlessness
  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • extreme sadness or hopelessness that doesn’t seem to lift
  • anger, irritability or intense frustration
  • volatile and erratic emotions
  • a lack of interest in activities that may have been significant sources of enjoyment
  • changes in sleep patterns, staying up extremely late and not wanting to get up in the morning
  • low energy levels and reduced motivation to do anything
  • may engage in risk taking behaviors e.g sex, alcohol or drug abuse
  • has trouble concentrating at school or on homework
  • entertains thoughts of death or suicide or self harm .

How Does Teenage Depression Compare with Adult Depression?

Symptoms of depression are very similar between adults and teens however there are some stand out differences.

The outbursts of anger will be more evident in the teenager

They will be far more reactive and sensitive to any criticism leveled at them and may ark up easily when they feel criticized.

Teens are reluctant to talk to their parents about how they are feeling but may be more communicative with a trusted friend

Many teens will think they are suffering some physical illness and will use the excuse that they are not feeling well to avoid doing things or engaging in regular activities.

If any of the anti social behaviors continue for a prolonged period of time it is evidence of a depressive illness, this is true of both adults and teens. .

Why Do Some Teens Suffer Depression?

There are many factors that can influence depression in young people. Current research suggests these may include:

  •  a genetic pre disposition to the illness especially if other older family members have experienced depression
  • Sexual or physical abuse as a younger child can result in depression and a feeling of low self worth as a teen.
  • any traumatic event which has had a significant impact on the child can result in depression. Things such as a family breakup, the death of someone close to them, even moving to a new area and having to establish new friendships within community and or school
  • Coming to terms with their own sexual identity
  • living among a family where there is no harmony and constant bickering among the adults.
  • lack of finances to enjoy a similar standard of living to peers.
  • being bullied either verbally or physically

Where Can Teens Get Help?

I have outlined many options and resources in other posts but to list some again will not hurt.

Beyond Blue : https://www.beyondblue.org.au                1300 22 4636

Lifeline :                     https://www.lifeline.org.au                13 11 14

Headspace:             https://headspace.org.au                   03) 9027 0100

Kids Helpline             kidshelpline.com.au                          1800 55 1800

This list is for resources within Australia but there will be similar resources in most other countries.

Depression cannot be shaken off easily or simply dismissed. It is a serious illness which needs treating. The good news is that it can be treated but it is important to seek help early.

Head space has provided some excellent information and resources which you will find very helpful if you have experienced any of the following:

Eating Disorders, self harm, Bipolar, Post Traumatic Stress, Bullying, Anxiety, Extreme Anger or other issues signifying depression

Everyone is different in their ability to handle different situations. We need to accept that and not place unreal expectations on anyone to perform according to any formula for acceptable behavior.

It is a big step to first acknowledge you are having difficulty and an even bigger step to seek help. It takes courage to reach out to ask someone else to help you work through your concerns but it is essential that you do, both for your own well-being and for the assurance of those around you.


If you relate to any of the symptoms or signs of depression mentioned in this article I would encourage you to do just 3 things.

1 Acknowledge the difficulties you are experiencing

2 Tell someone that you feel depressed

3 Get some help.

If you have been able to overcome depression I would love you to share your story to help others going down the same rough road.

Lets look out for each other and remember RUOK?

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    • Louis
    • March 24, 2019

    Depression is becoming a global problem. It’s borne out of the excess stress that the average individual has to deal with everyday. Even more scary, is the fact that our teenagers are also slipping into depression. Mainly because of self doubt, and the inability to conform with images set by society. It’s always important to get help early enough, if any teenager start experiencing signs of depression.

      • admin
      • March 24, 2019

      Hi Louis and thank you for your comments. You are right in saying it is important to get help early. Leaving it can result in further lack of confidence and sense f self worth which in turn will have other consequences such as failing at school, then not being able to fulfil their full potential.

    • Adamu2
    • March 24, 2019

    I absolutely love what I read in this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me.Depression is everywhere and everyone is bound to have it. The most important thing is that we do not invite depression but we should know how we will overcome it. Following your steps on his article will be of great help.thanks for the insightful article. Best regards 

      • admin
      • March 24, 2019

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment Adam. I think it is important to be sensitive to each other and recognize the symptoms when we see them in someone we care about.  We can all ask the question RUOK? and even that might be sufficient for them to open up and share how they are really feeling. 

    • Koda
    • March 24, 2019

    This is quite the informative and impactful post! I think this is eye opening. We, as a society, just chalk up odd teen behavior as some naturally occurring wild stage of pubescence. While that is true to a degree, we must never forget that teenage depression is a real thing that effects millions of teens all over the word. It’s important to not ignore the signs, and more importantly, to get them the help that they need. 

    I myself was quite a wild teen, living a wild and turbulent life. In short, I was a really bad kid. Had I gotten the help I needed, I probably would not have acted out so much. So, thank you for making this post. We need to bring more awareness to the public about matters like this. Awesome contribution : ) I look forward to reading more posts of yours in the future! 


      • admin
      • March 24, 2019

      Thank you for your comments Koda.  Being a wild kid is not as serious as being a depressed kid. The wild kid might get into trouble with people in authority but he is exercising his own self confidence and attempting to make his mark in the world whereas the depressed kid will withdraw into himself and may not achieve all that he/she is capable of. They may also suffer physical issues as a consequence of the negative mindset or even at worst if not checked may even end by taking their own lives.

      I am pleased that you grew out of te wild kid stage and are now able to make a valid contribution to the world and society. 

    • Seun Afotanju
    • March 24, 2019

    Thanks for this educative post, Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how your teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. when I went through this in my teenage years I usually acknowledged my current situation and accept whatever is happening though it took a long time but it worked.

      • admin
      • March 24, 2019

      And thank you to you Seun for reading and commenting on it.  Depression at any age needs to be addressed and great results can be achieved just by re programming the brain to think and respond differently. The first and most important step is to admit there is a problem and then to seek help. I congratulate you in being able to conquer depression in your own life. 

    • Chidiking88
    • March 24, 2019

    Depression is no longer a state of mind to feel less of oneself. It’s a common phenomenon. 

    Family therapy may be helpful if family conflict is contributing to a teen’s depression. The teen will also need support from family or teachers to help with any school or peer problems. Occasionally, hospitalization in a psychiatric unit may be required for teenagers with severe depression.

    One approach in combating depression was using the antidepressant medication Prozac, which is approved by the FDA for use with pediatric patients ages 8-18. Secondly was using cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, to help the teen recognize and change negative patterns of thinking that may increase symptoms of depression. Thirdly is a combination of medication and CBT.

    However, you have rightly said that teens with depression should not shy away from seeking help immediately. They must see this phenomenon as normal and never be intimidated by it. Thanks for this write-up. 

      • admin
      • March 24, 2019

      Thank you for such a comprehensive response to this post. You write as a professional in dealing with depression. 

      It is largely a modern day phenomenon but a huge cost on on resources and productivity without beginning to account for the loss of life due to suicide. I am not personally a fan of using drug therapy for any illness before at least all other means of healing have been tried and tested. Cognitive Brain Therapy under well trained practitioners is a preferred way to go. Add to this a strong support network is essential

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