The teen years are prone to many problems. Depression is one of the worst of potential problems, and can severely damage the teen’s quality of life. Early intervention is the key to reducing the damage that depression can do. Here are five major signs that may indicate that your teenager is developing depression.
1) Loss of concentration
Depression usually results in an inability to focus on everyday tasks because the teen becomes obsessed with the depression itself. Depression may cause your teen’s school grades to drop suddenly. Household chores may be neglected. The teen may completely lose interest in hobbies or other activities.
2) Less social interaction
A depressed teen tends to back into a social “shell” and stop interacting with peers. The teen’s outlook will affect how others treat him or her. Loss of interest in visiting or talking to peers is an important sign of potential depression.
3) Poor performance
Since depression affects the ability to focus, school grades may suddenly drop. You might also get a notice from your teen’s teachers about poor behavior in class. A depressed teen may suddenly lose interest in athletic activities, and start to do poorly in those.
4) Change in Dietary and Sleep Habits
Depression is closely linked to poor diet and poor sleep. It’s not always clear which is cause and which is effect, but if you notice that your teen is “off his feed” or has a drastic change of sleep schedule, this can be another sign of depression, especially if your teen starts to show excessive daytime sleepiness. Poor sleep can cause depression, so addressing any medical conditions that may cause poor sleep may help cure depression.
5) Don’t care attitude
One of the most important signs of depression is a don’t-care attitude about everything. When confronted with evidence of poor performance, the teen may react with complete indifference, or hostility. A typical problem with depression is that the affected teen doesn’t think he or she needs any help, and resents any attempt to provide help.
The teenage years are tough, and many teens will exhibit one or more of these signs from time to time without major depression. However, if you observe one or more of these signs that persist for more than a few days, you need to take action. A good place to start is with your teen’s school counselors. You may also need to investigate whether these signs might relate to bullying or drug problems.