Does My Teen Have Depression? Five Common Signs

teenagers sitting down facing away

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions across the globe. While it’s usually associated with adults, children and teenagers aren’t immune. 

Teenagers across the country are seeing higher rates of depression, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mental health crisis currently being experienced by young people can feel like a pandemic all on its own. 

The good news? Depression is treatable. 

But, it doesn’t usually go away by itself. Recognizing some of the common signs of depression in teens can make a big difference. The sooner you understand those signs, the sooner you can get them the help they need. 

You know your teenager better than anyone. So, pay attention to any changes you notice in their behaviors, and be on the lookout for some of the following signs.

They’re Struggling to Focus

Have you noticed lately that your teen is slipping in school? Do they have trouble concentrating on one thing for too long, or don’t seem focused, even when you’re talking to them? Maybe they’re having difficulty remembering information, and that just isn’t like them. 

It’s not uncommon for teens to fit the “stereotypes” of not listening. But again, you know your teenager better than anyone. If their thought processes seem different lately, it could be a sign of something more serious.

They Have Negative Thoughts

Unfortunately, your teen might not always tell you what they’re thinking or feeling. But, use whatever opening you can to talk to them about those things. 

If they seem fixated on negative thinking, don’t take it lightly. Some teens will even go so far as to talk about self-harm or the hopelessness they feel. If that’s the case, it’s important to get them help immediately.

They Don’t Enjoy Things They Used To

teenage girl writing in her noteboook

Most teenagers are involved in different activities. Most enjoy spending time with friends. No matter what your teen’s hobbies are, take it as a warning sign if they suddenly seem to lose interest. 

Being tired and not feeling up for some of their favorite activities once in a while is one thing. But, if they seem to have lost all passion for the things they usually love, they could be dealing with depression.

Angry Outbursts

It’s not uncommon for teens to “act out” once in a while. But, if yours isn’t usually angry and doesn’t have much of a temper, seeing them go through an angry outburst can be alarming. 

Unfortunately, it’s a common sign of depression, especially when they’re trying to push down their emotions or avoid talking to them. They might be irritable and easy to “set off” with even a few words. 

Angry outbursts can cause a sort of vicious cycle. They’re likely to feel guilty after snapping, which can further fuel their depression and make them feel trapped in a loop.

Physical Problems

While depression is a mental health condition, some signs can manifest themselves physically. Some of the most common physical issues associated with teen depression include: 

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

It’s common to have more than one sign of depression, and multiple signs can help you realize there’s something more going on than your teen just having a bad day or struggling a bit. 

While depression is manageable, it shouldn’t be ignored. Your teenager might be older, but they’re still your child. It’s important to recognize these signs so you can be their advocate and get them the help they need and deserve. 

If you’re worried your teen might be dealing with depression, feel free to contact us at 916.740.6424 or  You don’t have to deal with this on your own, either, and we can help you navigate the next steps through teen counseling.

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