Recognize the Signs of Teen Depression


Adults are not the only ones who experience depression. Teenagers, and even young children, can develop depression as well.

It’s important to recognize the signs of depression in teens because, if left untreated, depression can continue into adulthood and become more severe.

Unfortunately, many symptoms of depression are often overlooked in teenagers as they can be confused with mood swings that children of this age typically experience during this time.

Gender Differences

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, boys and girls are equally likely to develop depression before hitting puberty. However, these statistics dramatically change following puberty. By age of 15, girls are twice as likely as boys to have experienced an episode of depression.

Signs and Symptoms

A teen who is depressed may exhibit signs and symptoms such as refusing to go to school, pretending to be sick to miss school, getting into trouble while at school, and sulking when asked to participate in basic, everyday activities. Others may feel misunderstood and participate in negative behaviors.

Other symptoms of teen depression are similar to those found in adults:

  • Sleep issues: Some teens may experience difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep throughout the entire night. Others may sleep excessively.
  • Appetite issues: Like sleep, some teens may go from one extreme to the other. For example, some teens may lose their appetite and lose weight. Others may overeat, resulting in weight gain.
  • Concentration problems: During a severe depression, some teens may not be able to concentrate on school work or even focus enough to read a homework assignment or watch a television show from start to finish.
  • Self-esteem loss: Many teens lose confidence in themselves and everything else. They may dwell on mistakes that they have recently made.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health


The information provided on the is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive mental health information & inspiration

Subscribe to our mailing list

PsyWeb Poll

Are you currently taking or have you ever been prescribed anti-depressants?: