The signs of teenage depression come in four main areas: emotional, cognitive, motivation, and physical.
The emotional signs are a blue mood, negative self-attitude, self-conscious about their body, crying and a poor sense of humour.
The cognitive signs of teenage depression are low self-esteem, negative outlook on the future, inability to make decisions, poor body image, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
The motivational signs are low motivation (pretty basic) to get things done, withdrawing from social groups, suicidal thoughts, trouble talking to people and an increased dependency on others around them.
The physical signs of teenage depression are a loss of appetite, inability to sleep, increased fatigue and exhaustion. Most teens suffering with signs of teenage depression are exhausted because so much is going on and they are preoccupied with their problems. Suffering teens will sleep a lot as this allows them to withdraw from life and escape its problems.
Not all of depressed teens have these symptoms but usually have one or more from each area. Sometimes you cannot tell if a teenager is depressed by how they relate to the world, because things are not always what they seem.
If you are the teenager who is suffering, the first step is to get out your pen and paper and start writing. Write down what you are feeling. Just write! Don’t try to be a best seller author, just write like you’re talking to an imaginary friend. Then, step back and look at what you’ve written. If it’s absolutely dark and negative, then find someone to confide in. Find a trusted, mature friend, a counselor or therapist. Find someone who can help you figure out what is causing you to be depressed. See your doctor and ask them if they can determine if your physical lifestyle is causing it, such as your diet and exercise habits. Those two individuals are a good start.
The most important thing is to move towards answers instead of moving towards substance abuse, suicidal thinking, continued negative thinking, etc.
There is hope and you are worth it!
The first sign of depression can be a red flag in your life letting you know that you are not taking care of yourself properly. Find out what you are missing. Click to find where there is hope.
If someone you love is suffering with signs of teenage depression, read: When Depression Hurts Those Around You
(Source: Dacey, John and Maureen Kenny. Adolescent Development. Madison: Brown and Benchmark Publishers, 1994.)
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