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Q&A #11: How Do I Know if My Teenager is Depressed?

With the news of another school shooting dominating the headlines, parents are once again wondering how to tell if their teenager is depresed. if your teen seems persistently depressed or sad and exhibits five of the following symptoms for a two-week period or longer:

An abrupt change in appetite, either eating too much or much less than usual
Difficulty sleeping, either staying in bed too much or getting insomnia
Feeling of hopelessness
Poor concentration
Social withdrawal
Lack of interest in activities that he or she previously enjoyed
Angry outbursts, aggressive behavior, or persistent irritability
Continual complaints of physical pain, like headaches and stomachaches
Thoughts or attempts of suicide
Self-criticism ("I'm stupid" or "I'm a dummy")
Refusing to go to school or frequent school absences (which may be linked to fatigue)

Other signs of depression in adolescents may include:

Reckless behavior
Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure
Talk or effort to run away from home
Poor performance at school
Alcohol or substance abuse
Self-mutilation -- inflicting light cuts with razors, pens or knives

Bottom line is we need to be proactive and aware of these possible symptoms of depression in teenagers and seek professional help IMMEDIATELY!

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