Is My Teenager Depressed or Moody?

Moodiness is the norm for teenagers… right? Here are some questions to ask yourself about your teen’s mood changes.


Is my kid tired all the time due to extracurriculars, or for seemingly no reason?

If your teen has very little downtime because they’re always busy with extracurriculars and homework, this could be the cause of their exhaustion. It’s also a great indication of an over-scheduled teen and not a depressed one.

If your child is getting enough sleep but still seems tired all the time or just doesn’t want to get out of bed, this could be a sign of depression.

 Has my teen’s appetite dropped off?

If your teen isn’t eating as much as they used to and they’re losing weight, it could be a symptom of several issues. Extreme stress can cause a change in your teen’s eating habits. So can eating disorders and substance use disorder.

While it’s true depression can cause appetite changes, your teen’s doctor will likely rule out other potential causes before drawing a conclusion.

Is my teenager self-isolating from family and friends?

As your child gets older, they’ll want more privacy — which often means hours and hours alone in their room. But depression looks different.

It often makes teens feel like no one understands them or what they’re experiencing, so they have nothing to talk about with others.

Pay attention if your kid is avoiding family gatherings because they’re with friends, or if they’re also turning down invites to hang out with them, too. If they’re spending all their time in their room and are no longer interested in talking to you or their friends, it could be a sign of depression.

Has my teen lost interest in their go-to pastimes?

If they’ve replaced their usual activities with new ones, then it’s likely a sign that their interests are simply changing.

But with depression, teens often don’t get excited about things they once loved or pick up new interests. They may tell you they don’t feel like it or enjoy it anymore, or that they’re too tired to do a once-favorite hobby.

Are there any signs my teenager is harming themselves or thinking about suicide?

It can be very shocking to notice cuts or burns on your teen, but self-injury is not the same as a suicide attempt.

If your teen is harming themselves in any way, it’s typically an effort to make themselves feel better or gain control. This doesn’t necessarily lead to a suicide attempt, but is a red flag all the same.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 988. You can also reach out through their online chat.

If your teen has started writing poems, songs, or stories about suicide, they could be having suicidal thoughts and are preoccupied with the idea of death or dying.

Thinking about suicide doesn’t always mean that someone has a plan or will actually make an attempt, but it’s important to take it seriously anyway. If you find out your teen is telling people in person or on social media that they want to die, that everyone would be better off without them, or similar comments, this is a definite red flag.

If you come across anything that concerns you, speak with your teen and reach out to a professional for support.

If signs point to depression, do this

If you recognize any depression symptoms in your teen, the first step is to reach out to your child’s doctor for an evaluation. You can then ask them for referrals, or find a therapist for your teen on your own.

Speak with your teen about your concerns. You can start by simply asking them if anything is bothering them — in their body or mind.

Don’t be judgmental or attempt to solve all their problems. Instead, just listen and let them know you’re there for them. This might help them be more willing to talk now and in the future.

Excerpted from “Is My Teenager Depressed or Moody?” on PsychCentral. Read the full post online for more details.

Source: PsychCentral | Is My Teenager Depressed or Moody?, | © 2024 Psych Central, a Healthline Media Company

See CHC’s Anxiety & Depression Guide to better understand anxiety and depression at any age and stage.


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