Recognizing psychological distress

Alarming behaviour in teenagers: When to worry

Recognizing psychological distress

Alarming behaviour in teenagers: When to worry

Approved by Stéphanie Deslauriers, psychoeducator

After a sudden and dramatic change in your teen’s behaviour, you notice that they’re having a hard time functioning and can’t seem to get back on their feet. Your teen appears to be going through some rough times and, naturally, this worries you: could this difference in behaviour be due to depression or anxiety? If you’re concerned that your child may be depressed, it’s important to consider whether they may be experiencing a bout of the blues or whether they’re indeed depressed. But perhaps your child isn’t just feeling depressed—perhaps they are going through an actual depression.

How to tell if your teen is feeling depressed or suffering from depression

Teenagers can face some difficult challenges in their lives, such as a parents’ divorce or separation, a move, or a break-up, and these challenges can trigger brief changes in their behaviour. This is quite natural, and things generally go back to normal after a time; it’s what is referred to as feeling depressed.

Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by intense symptoms that last for several weeks with no sign of improvement. If depression is not diagnosed, and it remains untreated, it can bring about long-term consequences:

  • Trouble maintaining positive relationships with others;
  • A risk of dropping out of school;
  • Turning to drugs and/or alcohol;
  • In some cases, suicidal thoughts.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The main thing to look out for is a change in behaviour, whether gradual or sudden. Teens will rarely admit to suffering from depression, so if communication is difficult or at a standstill, it’s important to monitor what’s going on and identify the root of the problem.

A teen going through a depression will have one or more of the following symptoms.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The main thing to look out for is a change in behaviour, whether gradual or sudden. Teens will rarely admit to suffering from depression, so if communication is difficult or at a standstill, it’s important to monitor what’s going on and identify the root of the problem.

A teen going through a depression will have one or more of the following symptoms.

Beware of false information

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to depression, particularly where teens are concerned. Take this quiz to see how much you know about depression.

1/

You can easily tell when a teen is suffering from a major depression.

Worried about your teen and wondering how to help?

See what advice we have to offer, and learn how you can support your teen in times of psychological distress.

You can also invite your teen to check out our tips and take our depression quiz.

Access to the test

Learn about the contributor’s book

ÉLI : Comprendre la dépression à l’adolescence – Stéphanie Deslauriers, Psychoeducator, speaker and writer

This book is a practical guide that can help teens recognize the signs and risks of depression, feel less alone and, above all, find concrete tips for how to rebuild a positive self-image and move forward.

ACHETER LE LIVRE ↗

Our partner

Les Éditions Midi trente offers practical books and helpful intervention tools aimed at helping people young and old overcome challenges and foster their potential.

Visit the website