Signs and symptoms a teen may be depressed include a change in his or her previous attitude and behavior that can cause significant distress and problems at school or home, in social activities, or in other areas of life.
These signs and symptoms can include:
- Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason
- Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
- Feeling hopeless or empty
- Irritability or annoyed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fixation on past failures, or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
Treatment depends on the type and severity of a teenager’s depression symptoms. A combination of talk therapy and medication can be effective for most teens with depression. If a teen has severe depression or is in danger of self-harm, he or she may need a hospital stay or may need to participate in an outpatient treatment program until symptoms improve.
While antidepressant drugs often effectively treat depression and anxiety in children and teenagers, their use in children and teens must be monitored carefully, as rarely there can be severe side effects. Antidepressants carry a Food and Drug Administration black box warning about a risk of increased suicidal thinking and behavior in some people under 25.
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