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The Hidden Signs of Teen Depression

Most people experience adversity at some time in their life, and while many people can work their way through difficult experiences, others need professional guidance to cope with whatever has befallen them. Professional counselling services available to help people in situations where they feel overwhelmed and unable to solve their own problems.

The teenage years are a difficult period in the human journey, due largely to the numerous changes taking place, not only in their bodies but their lives in general. Teenagers are coping with increased study loads, future career aspirations, the expectations of parents and society in general, acceptance by their peer group and concerns about their appearance.

Most teenagers make a reasonably successful transition to adulthood.

They find a balance in meaningful relationships with family and friends, success at school, sport or community activities, and a sound sense of self. Others, however, struggle with the pressure, but because normal, healthy teenagers can be moody and volatile anyway, recognising depression and anxiety in teenagers is often difficult.

Depression is harder to recognise in teenagers than adults because the symptoms can be different.

Rather than appearing sad and melancholy, a teenager can be uncharacteristically irritable and angry to a level that is more than “moodiness.” They may have unexplained aches and pains, like headaches and stomach aches. If a medical examination doesn’t find any physical cause, depression should be considered.

More than at other life stages, the teenage years are hard on self-esteem, and while criticism can be difficult for all teens, depressed teens are super-sensitive to it. They may struggle with feelings of worthlessness that are out of proportion to their real situation and are very vulnerable to rejection and failure.

This is another little-known sign of teenage depression.

Teenagers will withdraw from some relationships, especially from parents, but still hang out with some other people. If they happen to connect with an unknown group who have no history with the teen, they can easily get involved in risk-taking behaviour, without old friends to pull them back.

All of these behaviours can be a normal part of teenage development.

However, if they persist for any length of time, and have an adverse effect on their relationships, study, and social activities, the use of professionals may be essential to steer the young person back to normality.

Delany Skerrett | CFHP
Delaney Skerrett

Delaney is a senior registered psychologist working with people of all backgrounds and with a special interest in LGBTI+ people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous people.

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