Depression in Adolescents

Depression in Adolescents: Differentiating Clinical Depression from Moodiness

Adolescence is tough. Teenagers are going through hormonal changes, and also have to navigate the increasingly difficult social circles while feeling painfully self-aware and uncomfortable in their own skins. Although it is extremely common for teens to feel unhappy at times, true depression in adolescents is defined by periods of extreme sadness lasting more than two weeks.  Beginning around the age of 15, and commonly running in families, studies show that one out of every eight adolescents suffers from depression.

Difficulty concentrating, a sudden drop in grades, excessive sleep and a change in eating habits are all signs that your teen may be suffering from depression.  Depression is an extremely serious condition, especially if left untreated, and can be a life-long struggle if not addressed properly.

Unfortunately, more often than not, when depression in adolescents is left untreated, it can ultimately morph into other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, which is often diagnosed when one is in their mid-twenties. In the most severe of cases, suicide is the end result; research shows suicide to be the leading cause of death among teens and young adults in the United States with an estimated 5,000 suicides every year.

The sad fact about depression in adolescents is that it is entirely treatable. The most common and effective way to treat adolescent depression is through some form therapy: traditional process therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy are all valuable therapeutic modalities that help address the root issues behind the depression and can teach skills to manage bouts of depression.

If you are a parent and believe that your son or daughter is suffering from depression, please  contact us today. A full psychiatric evaluation is the best course of action before any treatment should be initiated because every case of depression in adolescents is unique and can differ in severity and other co-occurring mental health issues.


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Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.