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Teenage Angst vs. Signs of Depression

Does your teen spend a lot of time alone? Perhaps it’s getting harder and harder to maintain a conversation without hostility and outbursts. Or maybe you’ve noticed behavioral changes that don’t make any sense, such as skipping school or avoiding spending time with family.

These are all vague symptoms, and everyone goes through rough patches. However, what separates temporary angst from depression is how these struggles affect other areas of life and how long the symptoms persist.

We asked our specialists at Hampstead Family Medicine and Burgaw Medical Center to delve deeper into the topic. Read on to learn the most common symptoms of depression, and find out how depression can impact a teen’s life.

Depression symptoms in teenagers 

Some of the following symptoms could be a reaction to the external environment, such as peer pressure or the pressure to excel academically, while others may signal a more serious issue. 

Here are a few symptoms a depressed teenager may experience:

Your teen doesn’t need to have all of these symptoms to suffer from depression, because depression manifests itself differently in different people. What matters the most is how other areas of life are affected by these symptoms. 

The 3 areas of concern

Instead of simply looking for symptoms, determine how long the symptoms have been present, how intense the symptoms are, and in what settings the symptoms are more likely to occur. 

Duration 

How long has your teen acted differently? Does the moodiness or sadness go away, or is it a persistent state of mind? 

If the symptoms last longer than two weeks, a depressive disorder may be at the root of the problem.

Intensity

Are the symptoms severe enough to interfere with their ability to maintain friendships and family relationships? Have the symptoms led to isolation? Have sleep and eating habits harmed your teen’s health?

Observing the impact of the symptoms on your teen’s overall life quality can help you determine if the changes you’ve noticed are symptoms of depression.

Domain

Typically, the first people to observe teen angst are the parents. In some cases, teachers may notice issues, too, but not all depressed teens are troublemakers at school. In fact, some are timid and quick to avoid conflict. 

If the symptoms occur only when dealing with figures of authority, such as parents or teachers, your teen may be experiencing teenage angst.

However, if these symptoms expand to all areas of life, making it more difficult for your teen to interact with others in social settings, it could be a sign of something more serious.

What’s next?

If you think your teen may be exhibiting signs of depression, take your concerns to one of our providers at Hampstead Family Medicine and Burgaw Medical Center by scheduling an appointment. Our team can provide guidance on how to improve the life quality of your teen and prevent complications.

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