Medical Center of Aurora October 22, 2018

Children are not immune to depression. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, an estimated 2 percent of young children and 4-8 percent of adolescents suffer from depression. While it can exist in younger kids, depression is more common in teenagers. Researchers predict one in 10 kids will experience some type of depressive episode by age 16.

Teens who have depression may show several subtle warning signs. “Parents often worry about bringing up depression because they feel like they may be planting the seed. It’s important parents feel comfortable talking to their kids and recognize what’s going on,” said Jeff Johnson, Director of Clinical Services at The Medical Center of Aurora’s Behavioral Health & Wellness Center.

9 Signs That Your Teen May Be Suffering With Depression:

  • Deep Sadness:

Sadness that persists for more than two weeks could be a sign of depression. If you notice extreme behaviors such as excessive tearfulness, it may be a sign your child is struggling to manage the overwhelming emotion they’re feeling. Teens may also talk about suicide or physically harming themselves through cutting or another method. Your child’s friends can be very helpful in identifying the symptoms and alerting parents to any suicidal threats.

  • Changes in Eating Habits or Weight

“The American Journal of Epidemiology” reviewed the role of weight in depression in teens. The study found girls who were overweight or obese were nearly twice as likely to have depression as girls with a healthy body weight. Keep an eye on your teenager at the dinner table. Changes in eating habits can also be a sign of teen depression. Watch to see if your son or daughter is eating significantly more or less and talk with your teen about what is bothering him or her.

  • Changes in Sleep Patterns and Activity

Teenagers always seem to be tired, but this could be a sign something more serious is going on. If your son or daughter is having significant trouble sleeping or is sleeping more than usual, it may be time to call for professional help. Activity level may also be a warning sign. Some teens may show slowed movements and a lower activity level. Conversely, they may seem physically agitated, nervously pacing, chewing nails or wringing their hands.