Depression in adolescents

Depressive symptoms in adolescents from 13 to 18 years often do not present as melancholic mood with sadness, losing interest, hopelessness, ruminating or lack of motivation. Instead, aggressive behaviour, substance abuse, and somatic symptoms may mask a depression disorder. In addition, individual cases are much more specific than in adults. Frequently, adolescents present with somatic and psychological symptoms:

Somatic /physical symptoms

  • Psychosomatic discomfort (headache), weight loss
  • Problems falling asleep, sleeping through the night (often excessive need of sleep)

Psychological symptoms

  • Decreased confidence (low self-esteem, doubts about themselves)
  • Apathy, loss of enjoyment, lack of concentration
  • Changing moods
  • Rhythmic changes in their condition
  • Decline in school performance
  • Feelings of not being able to keep up with social and emotional requirements, danger of isolation
  • Increased suicidal thoughts and possibly suicide attempts

In adolescents the rate of depressed young men to women is about 1:2.

Take a look and fill in the screening test for depression on this website, in the box 'Recognising Depression' on the left side of this page.