Signs Your Teen May Be Battling Depression

Published On: December 21, 2023Categories: Teen Mental Health

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions people face, and few are immune to the experience of depression. Whether or not an individual will develop depression depends on factors like family history, environment, physical health and even genetics. 

While depression is a universally experienced mental health condition, how a teen suffers from depression may be different from the way an adult suffers, meaning it may be difficult to identify whether or not a teen is experiencing depression. 

As a parent, it is helpful to know the signs of depression to get your teen the help they need when they need it.

Causes of teen depression

When it comes to mental health conditions, there is never one individual cause. Usually a variety of factors come into play which may predispose a teen to experience symptoms of depression. Common causes of depression in teens include:

  • Family history – If a parent suffered from depression, one or more of their children will be at a higher risk for also experiencing symptoms of depression 
  • Other mental health problems – If a teen also suffers from another mental health condition – such as OCD or anxiety – they are at a higher risk for developing depression 
  • Chronic stress – Frequent, unchecked stress can have a significantly negative impact on both mental and physical health
  • Physical health conditions – A physical health condition can significantly decrease one’s quality of life, which may lead to increased symptoms of depression
  • Abuse or neglect – If a teen suffered abuse of any kind (physical, emotional, sexual, verbal), they are at a much higher risk for developing depression 
  • Bullying – Teens who are the victims of bullying/cyberbullying, and teens who are the perpetrators, are also at a higher risk for mental health conditions
  • Grief – Losing a loved one, or even experiencing being uprooted like a move or divorce, can have significant impacts on mental health status 

Truthfully, the list can go on regarding potential causes of mental health conditions. Now, it’s important to note that teens who experience these situations are not guaranteed to develop depression as a result. They are simply at a higher risk for it, meaning parents must watch for any risk factors and potential signs. 

Signs of depression in teen girls

Just like men and women, teen boys and girls will show different symptoms of depression, too. This is primarily due to the way girls versus boys process and show emotion – but, of course, not every child fits into stereotypical boxes. You know your child best and will be more keen on when they are displaying normal versus abnormal behaviors.

Changes in mood

While teenage girls may be more emotional in general, you are likely to notice when these changes become more acute. Your daughter may be increasingly emotional about certain situations, or may be highly sensitive overall. Additionally, angry outbursts and irritability may be further indicators that something is off. 


You may notice that your daughter is more inclined to withdraw from certain friends as opposed to others, or will partake in some social gatherings, but not all. It may be that these particular situations are too overwhelming or involve people who trigger increased anxiety. Keep an eye on your daughter if she begins withdrawing frequently and repeatedly.

Changes in appearance

While all teens experiment with outward representation and individualism, there’s a difference between healthy self-expression and acting out/neglecting oneself. Teens struggling with depression may not take care of their physical appearance, or may begin dressing in such a way that is attention-seeking or uncharacteristic. 


Signs of self-harm include burns, cuts, scratches and/or bruises for which your daughter has no satisfactory explanation. She may wear long pants or sleeves to hide their appearance, even on warm days. Self-harm can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and signs of it need to be immediately addressed.

Signs of depression in teen boys

Teen boys may experience depression similarly to girls, but may display its effects in different ways. 

Increased irritability

Boys are more inclined to have angry or hostile outbursts as a means of channeling pent-up and frustrating emotions. This may accelerate into violent behavior if not properly addressed. 


Depression may lead a teen boy to engage in increasingly risky behaviors, such as substance use, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, imprudent sexual behaviors and other rule-breaking tendencies. Some of these rule-breaking incidents may be related to teenage rebellion, but when the lives of themselves and others are put in jeopardy frequently, it may indicate a greater problem. 

Talk of suicide 

Teen boys with severe depression symptoms may speak of feeling worthless, hopeless or expressing beliefs that others would be better off without them. Giving away possessions, leaving notes or expressing outward thoughts of ending their own life should not be ignored, but should stimulate a need for help immediately.

Getting help for your teen 

If you notice any of these signs in your teen repeatedly or frequently, it should indicate there is a greater problem at hand than simple teenage rebellion or emotion. To care for your teen to the best of your abilities, consider talking with them about getting help to best promote their mental wellness. 

To get in touch with a counselor today, reach out to Tapestry Recovery at 828-490-4032 or contact us online to learn more.

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