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Depression Warning Signs in Adolescents and Young Adults

(From Words Can Work: When Talking About Depression by Jeanne Blake)

Knowing the warning signs can help you distinguish depression from occasional normal sadness or moodiness.

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Sad or irritable mood

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Significant changes in appetite or weight

  • Difficulty sleeping; oversleeping

  • Slow or agitated movement

  • Loss of energy

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Difficulty concentrating 

  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide


Most adolescents and young adults experience the above symptoms occasionally. But, if you observe a number of these symptoms for more than a few weeks, seek professional help. Adolescents and young adults often show depression in other ways as well:

  • Frequent headaches, stomach aches or tiredness, without a medical cause

  • Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school

  • Talk of or efforts to run away from home

  • Being bored; sulking

  • Lack of interest in spending time with friends or family

  • Abuse of alcohol or other substances

  • Social isolation, poor communication

  • Fear of death

  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure

  • Increased irritability, anger, hostility, or crying

  • Reckless behavior

  • Neglect of clothes and appearance

  • Difficulty with relationships

  • Changes in mood

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