Teens also experience major depression
Clinical depression strikes about two million American teens a year. Like adults, twice as many teen girls as boys experience depression. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death in teens after accidents and homicide. Since most teens who commit suicide are depressed, many teen suicides can be prevented with treatment.
Research suggests that hormonal changes during puberty may contribute to the spike in depression among teenage girls. For example, Caitlin was in high school when she developed major depression. Like many who develop major depression, Caitlin experienced low energy, poor concentration, and decreased interest in activities that used to make her happy.
Other symptoms of teen depression include:
- Significant changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Frequent complaints of physical aches and pains (headaches, stomachaches)
- Feeling empty, hopeless
- Frequent crying
- Increased hostility or anger
- Sensitivity to rejection or failure that is extreme
- Notable decrease in communication with others, withdrawal from peers
Researchers have found that adolescents who experience major depression tend to be more prone to developing depression in adulthood.
One or two symptoms of depression do not mean a teenager is depressed. But if a family member or friend suspects a teenager is showing signs of depression, it is important to contact a doctor, mental health provider, or community clinic for assessment.