What is depression?

Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and the occasional feeling down or blue—it’s a serious problem that impacts every aspect of a teen’s life. For more information on understanding teen depression visit

These symptoms must last for at least two weeks and be present most of the day every day.

  • Feeling sad, teary, or grouchy – generally depressed. Depression is a strong mood that involves other emotions like sadness, discouragement, despair and hopelessness.
  • Losing interest in things you used to like
  • Trouble sleeping: Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in appetite or weight: Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain.
  • Feeling tired or restless all the time
  • Feeling guilty or worthless, like you’re a “bad person”
  • Difficulty concentrating in school
  • Preoccupation with death or dying
  • You find it hard to participate in everyday activities

Also, consider the physical signs of depression:

  • Body pains and muscle tension
  • Upset Stomach/Digestive Problems
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent crying
  • Over sensitivity
  • Angry outbursts

Some differences between teenage and adult depression

Depression in teens can look very different from adults. The following symptoms of depression are more common in teenagers:

  • Irritable or angry mood – Irritability, rather than sadness, is often the predominant mood in depressed teens. A depressed teenager may be grumpy, hostile, easily frustrated, or prone to angry outbursts.
  • Unexplained aches and pains – Depressed teens frequently complain about physical ailments such as headaches or stomach aches. If a thorough physical exam does not reveal a medical cause, these aches and pains may indicate depression.
  • Extreme sensitivity to criticism – Depressed teens are overcome by feelings of worthlessness, making them extremely vulnerable to criticism, rejection, and failure. This is a particular problem for “over-achievers.”
  • Withdrawing from some, but not all people –Depressed teenagers usually keep up at least some friendships, while adults may completely isolate themselves. However, teens with depression may socialize less than before, pull away from their parents, or start hanging out with a different crowd.

What should you do if you feel depressed? It can feel difficult and sometimes impossible to take that first step to help yourself. With the right skills, support, and services you can get better! For more tips and tools on how to help yourself or a friend visit:

Here are some helpful tips on ways to manage your depression:

Most importantly give yourself some slack! Expect gradual changes in your mood, but depression cannot be “fixed” immediately. It’s a process, but you’re making positive steps in the right direction!

If you’re feeling depressed, or you’re just feeling down and having trouble finding someone to talk to, Teen Lifeline is always here for you, to listen and help. You are not alone.

602-248-8336 (TEEN) or 800-248-8336 (TEEN)