Depression can affect how your teenager thinks, feels and behaves. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicidal thoughts. It’s important to know if your teen is depressed versus being a normal, moody teen.
“All teens can go through periods where they’re down or they’re cranky, they’re irritable, they’re just mean,” says Dr. Paul Croarkin (pronounced Cork-in), a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.
A moody teen has brief bursts of teen angst, usually focused only toward mom and dad, or other authority figures. But a depressed teen has mood changes that are consistent across environments.
These may be signs that your teen needs to be evaluated for depression.
“Start with a primary care provider, a family practice health care provider, a pediatrician or a mental health provider,” says Dr. Croarkin.
He says lifestyle changes, such as strict sleeping schedules, monitoring screen usage, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise, sometimes can help in mild cases.