Occasional sadness is a normal part of growing up, and mood swings are common during teenage years. However, prolonged periods of sadness, irritability, or loss of enjoyment in usual activities may be warning signs of an emotional disorder.
When to Seek Help:
Concerning symptoms may include:
- Low mood or frequent periods of sadness.
- Loss of interest in things that are usually enjoyable.
- Isolating or disconnecting from loved ones.
- Lack of motivation.
- Decreased concentration.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Becoming easily annoyed or upset.
- Difficulty finding reasons to live.
These symptoms can lead to many problems, including poor grades, weight loss, weight gain, loss of friendships, arguing with family members or self-harm. Underlying behavioral health conditions such as depression, ADHD, learning disorders, substance use disorders, grief over the loss of a loved one, or prolonged/persistent insomnia may contribute to these issues.
A Healthcare Professional can Answer Many Questions, Such As:
- What can we do to encourage improvement in mood, sleep patterns, and isolation?
- How can I discuss my child’s symptoms with other family members and school?
A Healthcare Professional May Also Take the Following Steps:
- Gather information about how symptoms are causing problems, and whether the situation is unsafe.
- Make referrals to mental health providers for psychotherapy.
- Start medication to target depressive symptoms, if moderate or severe.
- Observe over time for improvement, worsening, and side effects of any prescribed medications.
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: The Depressed Child or Adolescent
- HealthyChildren.org: Childhood Depression- What Parents Can Do To Help
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Suicide Safety
- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Suicide in Children and Teens