Teenagers: Raging Hormones vs Depression


How do you tell the difference between normal teenage hormones or determining if your teenager has depression? Our expert, Brittany Dyer, shares with our readers the depression signs parents need to be aware of.


By Brittany Dyer


We all feel unhappy at times, especially during the teenage years. Teens are trying to figure out many new things from a completely new perspective in life. During this time, hormones and bodily changes are rapidly happening as well.

Although teenage depression is somewhat common among teenagers, it’s symptoms are treatable with the right care. If your child’s behavior coincide with the symptoms of depression below, follow up with appropriate care for your child.


Depression vs Hormones

Let’s look at the difference between symptoms of depression and compare them to some behaviors of normal teenage hormones.

  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness: Normal teenage emotions encompass feelings of sadness but when a child feels hopeless, it’s more than just hormones. When someone feels hopeless, they feel useless and believe that no one needs them.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities: If a child usually likes playing sports or hanging out with friends and no longer wants to enjoy these activities, he or she could be depressed.
  • Difficulty concentrating or complaints of poor memory: Teenagers are not the best at focusing in on what their parents or teachers or others, for that matter, are wanting to tell them but when it becomes unusual or they are complaining about not being able to concentrate on something, there may be a bigger issue at hand. Look for your teen having trouble concentrating on their school work or other daily activities when they are normally able to concentrate on them.
  • Insomnia or oversleeping: I remember being a teenager and wanting to sleep the day away, but when it becomes excessive and they are missing usual activities, it may be a red flag that it’s more than teenage hormones.
  • Loss of weight or gain of weight: Look for weight fluctuation that is excessive. Hormones may cause a slight shift in weight but it shouldn’t be a large amount of weight gain or weight loss.
  • Lack of energy: Yes, sometimes teenagers lack motivation but again it’s an out-of-the-ordinary fatigue they are experiencing.
  • Slow speech: Slow speech may seem like your teen is lethargic or their speech may be slurred. If your teenager typically doesn’t talk slowly, look for other symptoms of depression or other causes she might be behaving this way.
  • Thoughts of suicide or death: Teenagers without depression do not have thoughts of suicide. Talking about death is not a normal behavior. Suicidal ideation can be a preoccupation of one thinking about killing oneself or even having a plan to die. If your child is talking about death or suicide, please seek immediate help for her. For more information about signs of suicidal thoughts in your teen click here.

Note that simply having one of these criteria does not make your child depressed. Your teen must exhibit several of these behaviors for more than 2 weeks in order to be considered depressed by a mental health professional. However, if you believe your child is experiencing more than normal teenage moodiness and think he might be experiencing depression, please seek experienced, professional help in order to take appropriate steps to getting him well.

photo by loogaan. CC BY 2.0

reference/source: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression

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