Recent studies indicate that one in five teenagers suffer from clinical depression. Adolescence is a stressful time in life. Teenagers describe feelings of being stressed out by internal and external pressures. They feel confused at times, and can have strong reactions when things don’t go right at school or with friends.

Hormonal and physical changes in the body can make it more difficult for the individual to fully understand what they are feeling. Therefore it may difficult for an individual to recognize his or her own depression.

It is important for those who are closest to the teen to recognize changes in that particular individual and to assist that person in getting help. Depression is a treatable illness and teens may be embarrassed or too ashamed to let others know they need help. They may be worried about what their parents and friends may think. Feelings of worthlessness and lack of hope- symptoms of the illness can interfere with getting help as well.

These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:

  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Substance abuse
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Guilt
  • Changes in school performance
  • Hostile aggressive, risk taking behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions