What are the warning signs for teenage depression or thoughts of suicide?
All teens are cranky, irritable and moody at times. However, if a teenager withdraws from friends and activities that were enjoyed previously and the sadness persists and interferes with daily life, depression might be the problem if your child:
Is sad and irritable most of the day, nearly every day.
Shows less interest in activities and friends she formerly enjoyed.
Shows changes in sleep or eating patterns.
Complains of aches and pains, though nothing is wrong physically.
Moves slowly and has difficulty concentrating.
Shows an academic decline.
Feels worthless, hopeless or guilty.
Starts or increases alcohol or drug use or other risky behaviors, such as reckless driving.
Neglects his or her physical appearance.
Overreacts to a recent major loss or disappointment.
The child may be contemplating suicide if, in addition to some of the symptoms listed above, the teen shows:
A pattern of giving away or throwing away possessions.
Intolerance of praise and rewards.
Preoccupation with death in writing, songs or poems.
Increase in comments such as "I can't take it anymore," "Nobody cares," "I wish I was dead," "My family would be better off without me."