You may be a parent of a teen, or a teen themselves, wanting to find answers. This blog shares seven signs of depression in teens. While you cannot clinically diagnose depression from the contents of this blog, you can recognize familiar signs of depression, and seek out the appropriate route for help. 


Depression isn’t always noticeable or visible to the eye. Some symptoms can be attributed to other things, such as an occasional late night, or an extra stressful week. Depressive symptoms can also come in waves, or be consistent across time.


Depression can look like these several signs, and more. It can also disguise itself behind smiling, happy, and caring demeanors. Depression is not a one-size-fits-all, and can look different for everyone.


If you notice any of these signs of depression, make sure to consult with a mental health professional about the next steps. Teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA pairs your teen with an experienced therapist, ready to support and guide them to their goals.


Click here to read our blog for teens, on How to Be Responsible for Your Mental Health. If you are a teen identifying on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, we made a blog on Tips for LGBTQIA+ Youth as well.


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They are unmotivated

teen feeling sad and defeated after school is taking a toll on her mental health and is needing teen therapy

Your teen may have a lack of motivation in specific, or numerous areas of their life. They may not be as motivated in things they once used to be excited about. This could pertain to sports, school performance, maintaining relationships, and more.


Your teen also is not as interested in learning or putting effort into class assignments or projects. It could be that they have also lost interest in things they once loved such as sports, after-school activities, hobbies, art, and more. Where their drive is suddenly gone, or has diminished over time.


You may also notice that they are unmotivated to care for themselves. Eating, showering, and brushing their teeth is becoming a daily struggle and challenge for them. You know you want to help, but you’re not sure how you can. 


Parents are involved in teen therapy to learn and strengthen ways to support their teen. They are also included for regular updates into how treatment is going, and areas of improvement; not just for the teen, but for the whole family. 


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They isolate themselves from family or friends

teen isolating himself from his sisters on family trip after family therapy in Simi Valley, ca

They isolate themselves from family or friends. This can look like physical isolation or emotional isolation. Perhaps your teen spends a lot of time by themselves in their room. They are seeking to be left alone more often and have no one else in their presence.


Your teen may reject coming down for family meals, going out and about to shop or run errands, or rarely exit their room. Whether they are watching TV, movies, playing video games, or sleeping – they seem to occupy themselves in isolation.


Emotional isolation may occur when they are unable or unwilling to share their feelings, and talk about what’s going on. They could brush it off casually like nothing serious is going on for them, or lie about how they are doing to avoid conversing about it. You may be left wondering what is really going on in their head, and if they are okay.


Family therapy in Simi Valley, CA can help guide conversations around your teen isolating, and support you as a parent in showing your care for them. Check out our blog on Reasons to Start Family Therapy.


Parenting therapy is a great option for parents who want to explore their current parenting techniques and see areas they can grow in supporting their teen.


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They are more irritable or angry

teen feeling angry due to his depression and needing a healthy outlet for his emotions, which would be teen therapy in simi valley

Your teen may show signs of being more irritable or angry. Anger in depression isn’t a symptom that is commonly talked about, as depression is thought to present as stagnant or sad. However, the stress from trying to cope can translate into anger and difficult feelings.


You may notice your teen struggling to hold normal conversations with you, without feeling irritable and ending them short. They may show signs of anger through yelling, slamming doors, or taking frustrations out on inanimate objects.


When teens harbor difficult feelings inside of themselves, it’s likely that it may unleash at the wrong time. It can also be expressed in unhealthy, negative ways that may affect relationships or their own self-perception


Consider seeking out teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA to provide them with a space to work through their irritability or anger. Check out this blog on 3 Benefits of Teen Therapy to understand more about what they can expect!


Teen therapy provides a safe space to open up about difficult feelings, helps them gain awareness about their behaviors, and teaches them coping skills.


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They have an inconsistent sleep schedule

teen feeling sad and alone in her household after parents denied her teen therapy in Simi Valley, ca

Whether they are not sleeping enough, or sleeping a lot, they have an inconsistent sleep schedule. This may not be easy to take notice of, due to your differing schedules. However, it can be obvious if they are extremely fatigued during the day, and are staying up late at night.


Your teen may have bags under their eyes and appear visibly tired. They may be sluggish and want to lay around during the day, when they would normally be up and moving. The same goes for being up at night, where you hear music or sounds coming from their room. 


Consider consulting with their primary care physician to understand any underlying medical issues that would cause sleeping difficulties. We also have a blog on understanding Do I Need Medication or Therapy?, read this to see what route may be best for your teen.


Therapy for teens can offer insight into what may be getting in the way of a consistent sleep schedule – and how we can support your teen in improving their sleep hygiene.


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They are using substances to cope

teen feeling suicidal and needing additional support after having counseling in simi valley

Your teen is using substances to cope. It can be common for teens to experiment using nicotine/vaping, marijuana/cannabis, and alcohol. They may have been exposed to other drugs, such as xanax or psychedelics. You may be aware of this, or notice changes in their demeanor or behavior that would suggest substance use or abuse.


Click here to read our full blog on Talking to Your Teenager About Drugs & Alcohol. Consider reading this blog for holding a positive, efficient conversation.


It’s not healthy to use substances to cope. By doing this, your teen is ultimately suppressing and avoiding facing their feelings. Some things, such as traumatic experiences, can truly be difficult to even consider talking about. But it’s important for your teen to know that using substances won’t make feelings or problems go away


Consulting with a teen therapist in Simi Valley, CA can help you and your family decide the best steps to take in providing your teen with the right support.


Talking about substance use can make teens feel ashamed, embarrassed, or defensive. Set the tone for this conversation to be open-minded and non-judgmental.


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They have a decreased or increased appetite

teenager feeling conflicted with wanting to eat or not wanting to and needing teen therapy in simi Valley ca

Your teen may show a decreased or increased appetite. This can look like not eating enough throughout the day like they used to. Maybe they are beginning to skip meals or only eat small portions of food per day. They could also be self-soothing with eating. In times of stress, your teen may find comfort in eating to distract or occupy themselves.


For concerns relating to eating or feeding, consult with an eating disorder specialist. Working with a professional well adept in eating disorders can provide clarity into any potential, underlying eating disorder in your teen. 


Counseling for teens in Simi Valley, CA provides them with a space to explore any issues related to eating or feeding. It’s crucial that the teen is paired with an experienced professional for the most effective treatment.


You may also want to consult with a nutritionist or a primary care physician to rule out any nutritional or hormonal deficiencies.


7 Signs of Depression in Teens: They express feelings of wanting to die or a desire to hurt themselves

teen and mom talking about her depression and thoughts of suicide after beginning teen therapy in Simi Valley, ca

Your teen may express feelings of wanting to die or a desire to hurt themselves or others. This could be either directly conveyed to you, or shared with another family member or friend. Maybe the signs are more subtle in other forms of self-expression (artwork, music, etc.), or you’ve noticed possible evidence of self-harm on their body. 




If your teen expresses this, or if you notice warning signs of suicidal/homicidal ideation or self-harm, it is important to take it seriously and respond appropriately by calling crisis services for guidance or seeking professional help.


You do not want to ignore or belittle your teen for sharing this information or having these experiences. It’s unfortunately common for parents to label their teens as “dramatic” or “attention-seeking” when these topics come up for them. 


However, you want to realize that they are truly needing support, before it’s too late. The thought of your child battling suicidal thoughts or self-harm may be truly scary to you – please know that by seeking the proper supports, you don’t have to face the issue alone.


At the end of the day, struggling with depression can be a lot. Especially if it feels like you’re going through it alone. But, with the right support and guidance, you can get to where you want to be. 


Counseling in Simi Valley, CA can help you learn to manage and cope with depression, to be the best version of yourself everyday. 


Our intake coordinator at New Leaf Marriage & Family Therapy will guide you through a transparent, caring intake process in getting started in anxiety therapy. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns about getting started.


Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation


Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.

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