Whether you’re 13, or 30, anyone can be affected by clinical depression. However, depending on your age, the symptoms aren’t the same for everyone.
“It’s a very real diagnosis, and it’s different in adults and kids,” says Dr. Marcie Billings, a Mayo Clinic pediatrician. A typical adult symptom may include the classic depressed mood, however, “In a child or adolescent, you might see more irritability, increased crankiness, or isolative behavior.”
Of course, these types of mood swings can also be typical adolescent behavior, which can make spotting depression in teens more difficult. However, Dr. Billings says it’s changes in their normal behavior that can be extra telling. “They used to want to hang out with friends — now they’re not. Grades are suffering. They’re struggling to get done what they normally do every day. They’re tired all the time. They can have sleep problems. They can have eating problems.”
Another symptom of depression that tends differ between teens and adults is weight gain or loss. Depressed adults commonly lose large amounts of weight very suddenly, however, with kids, “You might see that they’re not gaining weight appropriately, or they may be gaining excess weight.” says Dr. Billings.
Although depression can be a complex and emotional issue, the good news is that there are many excellent treatment options designed specifically for adults and kids.
If you’re looking for help with depression for yourself or someone you know, talking to your primary care provider is a great place to start. “We can treat adolescent depression extremely well,” says Dr. Billings.