The best way to identify depression in teens is to understand the set of symptoms that are an evidence of teenage depression and see how they evolve.
It is essential to examine the totality of the symptoms because one or two might not mean real depression. This depression is a biochemical and neurohormonal process, generally slow-paced in the body of the teenager and able to be extended to weeks and months.
Let’s see the specific symptoms of teenage depression:
- The deterioration of attention is the first sign that usually takes place. The teenager can’t fix his attention on any topic. His thoughts jump from one topic to another and he is increasingly distracted. More and more often he is daydreaming. The worsening of attention becomes particularly noticeable when the teenager tries to do homework. Concentrating on it turns out for him harder and harder and it seems that the more he tries, the worse it gets. Naturally, this leads to irritability, because the teenager begins to blame himself that he is “stupid”, makes assumptions that he lacks the mental capacity to perform the work. You can imagine how this affects his self-esteem.
- Daydreaming. The worsening of attention affects the behavior of the teenager in the classroom. At first, he might be able to concentrate on work for almost the whole lesson, staying focused for a few minutes at the end. But if the depression progresses and attention worsens, the teenager will focus less on work and more on dreaming. In this case, the teacher is in the best position to identify depression. But, unfortunately, the daydreaming is often taken for laziness or disrespect to the teacher. However, one or two individual traits, such as daydreams and lack of attention, don’t allow you to make an accurate diagnosis that this is teenage depression. You need to trace the gradual development of the entire group.
- Bad grades. Due to the decrease of attention and daydreaming, his evaluation naturally deteriorates. Unfortunately, this deterioration is usually so gradually that it is difficult to notice it, and for this reason it is rarely associated with depression. In fact, the parents and the teachers usually begin to think that the work is too difficult for the teenager or that he too is keen on other things. It would be much better if the ratings began to decline sharply. This would be the proper concern. But changing assessments usually occur unnoticed and therefore the possibility of depression is rarely taken into consideration.
- Melancholy. Because the teen is increasingly in a state of dreams, he gradually flows into melancholy. It is normal for them, particularly with younger teens, but only if it last a relatively short time. Normal anxiety often occurs within an hour or two, sometimes for a whole day or night, in rare cases, even for two days. But the melancholy, lingering for several days or longer is abnormal and should serve as a warning to you about what is happening with your child that there is something wrong. This condition usually manifests itself in that the teen wants to be alone in his room, with periods of loneliness increasing with each time. He spends the time just lying on the bed, dreaming and listening to music. The sinking in melancholy teenager loses interest in everything that he/she once liked: to sport, to clothes, cars, clubs, social events or dating.
- The somatic depression. As melancholy lingers, the teenager gradually moves to the stage of moderate depression. From that moment on he begins to suffer on a purely physical level. The teen starts to experience physical pain. The pain may be felt in different places, but more often it is pain in the lower part of the middle third of the sternum or headaches. Some teens experience pain in the lower third of the breastbone and/or headaches as a secondary phenomenon of depression.
- Introversion. In this state the teen runs away from peers and, at worst, not just avoids them has an attitude towards them of hostility, rudeness, causing them to turn away from him. As a result, he is all alone. And as he finally pushed away the good friends, he then starts chatting with bad guys, where companies sometimes use drugs and/or often fall into a nasty situation.
Symptomatology of depressive disorders among teens has distinct age diversity.
Junior teenage depression (10-12 years)
The young adolescents (up to 12 years old) show somatic symptoms in the form of common ailments, digestive disorders, violations of appetite, asthenia. Along with such not obvious signs of changing of the general condition is pretty clearly that the adolescent behavior also changes: the outgoing, full of life and sociable teenager becomes lonely, introvert, losing interest in hobbies and games, complains on boredom and fatigue, and rarely on sadness or melancholy.
Middle teenage depression (12-14 years)
On average, teens, as they move from elementary to secondary school, where the program is complicated and, more important, there is a large number of teachers, depression is often observed, disguised in forms of school phobia. Here the pathological condition is determined by the mounting of motor and cognitive inhibition, which blocks the ability of the teenager to master new learning material and gives the impression of memory problems.
At least the condition determines also communicative disorders. At this age, everyone is having trouble when trying to verbally express his feelings and experiences, which practically does not depend on the intellectual level and stock of the active vocabulary. Communication difficulties are one of the key problems of the emotional life of the teenager, by the manifestation of anxiety and lack of self-acceptance.
The 12-14 years teenagers’ academic failure and breach of school discipline often mask depression. The reaction of the school and parents persuade the teenager in his bankruptcy, he fears censure and this leads to total failure of the school.
For this age group is characteristic a manifestation of depression through deviant behavior. You should be aware that the exposed to all the temptations of the street teen needs not to be punished but to be treated because of his digressive behavior, depression, loneliness, collapsed feeling of self-esteem hopelessness, yearning and anxiety, fear of punishment.
Senior teenage depression (14-18 years)
In later adolescence, depression is often a manifestation of metaphysical intoxication.
A depressed teenager tends to consider this global problem as his personal drama. The reflections on the meaning of life and death become obsessive and fruitless, depriving the teenager of the productive ability of intellectual activity.
The teenager becomes lonely; the maladjustment gradually increases, leading to a complete social collapse.