Back to homepage

Teen Depression | A Guide for Parents Needing Help

Teen depression counseling at Carolina Counseling Services North Fayetteville Office Fayetteville NC, teen depression, therapy for teen with depression in Fayetteville NC

Teen Depression | A Guide for Parents Needing Help


Teen depression isn’t a minor concern. In the United States, the condition affects around 2.8 million youngsters aged 12 to 17 (National Institute of Mental Health, 2014).  The figure represents 11.4 percent of American teenagers. Paying attention to the changes in their behaviors is important. These could already be a silent plea for your attention and help.  If you miss those signs, it can mean an undiagnosed and untreated depression and more difficulty for your teen.

Spotting the non-specific, but common symptoms of depression in teens is never easy. With their transitioning hormonal levels, unpredictable mood swings, growth spurts, lack of interest in school, and boredom, teenagers are typically thought of as an emotional and moody bunch. Around this stage, your once easy-to-get-along child can dramatically change, becoming unsociable, short-tempered and sulky. The change is expected, but if it is a “3600 turn,” it deserves attention. It could be a sign that something isn’t right. It could also be a symptom of teen depression.

Teen depression can wreak havoc in the health and life of your adolescent child. Unfortunately, young as they are, they will most likely not seek help on their own. The most important lesson that parents must learn is that parental/adult help is important for their signs and symptoms to be diagnosed and treated. Because depression is an emotional condition, like other illnesses, it can only improve with the proper diagnosis and treatment in the hands of a trained behavioral health professional.


Could It Just be “Bad Mood?”

Spotting teen depression is challenging. They may always have a reason for their stubbornness, resulting in difficulty for most parents/adults to fathom what is happening with their child. Believe it or not they can react to certain situations in an unpredictable manner! Their keen interest to discover their self-identity, establish their independence and satisfy their curiosity can maddeningly drive them “to the ends of the earth,” doing all sorts of “crazy” things. Unsuccessful in their efforts, they can turn pessimistic and even angry, out of frustration.

They can be petty. Wanting to “fit in” and be socially accepted, they might try different hair styles and fashion trends. They can wear different makeup and clothes. They may act out when you do not buy them the newest gadget. They can also “throw all caution to the wind,” trying all sorts of extreme, risky and unhealthy activities. They can become “antisocial,” avoiding people because of poor self-esteem, or seek out people and parties until the wee hours of the morning.

Are these simple manifestations of a “bad mood” or signs of depression? Maybe the teen is just being a typical teen. On second thought, they could also be behaving this way because they are confused, not understanding their intense distress, even when everything seems alright. It isn’t easy to tell. The fact that many of these confused and misunderstood teens have turned the wrong way or made serious decisions, even thought of suicide, is not to be ignored. It is best that they are helped professionally. The sooner the better.


The Big D! – Signs and Symptoms to Spot

Adolescents are at higher risk for depression. One reason could be because of the tremendous changes in their bodies and brains, and another could be the growing expectations, and thus pressure, from parents, mentors and peers. In truth, however, there is still no clear cause for teen depression. There can also be a family component to it, having a transmissible gene from the parents to the child.  Traumatic experiences during their childhood and other social and environmental factors – divorce, an ailment or poverty in the family – may also increase their vulnerability.

It is natural for all healthy teenagers to undergo a significant amount of change – physically, emotionally, cognitively, etc. Yet, the change often gives way to parental doubt – are the changes still typical, even when everyday life is so difficult for your teen, or are these signs of teen depression?  Some of the signs and symptoms to note, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) are:


  • appearing sad, irritable, or tearful
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • a decreased interest in activities your child once found pleasurable
  • a decrease in energy
  • difficulty concentrating
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • major changes in sleeping habits
  • regular complaints of boredom
  • talk of suicide
  • withdrawal from friends or after-school activities
  • worsening school performance


Several of these indicators are nonspecific – weight loss or gain, under or oversleeping, modified behaviors, habits and performances, etc. This means that these changes may not necessarily indicate depression. If the symptoms, particularly sadness, are intense and persistent – stretching for two weeks or longer – so that the daily functioning of your teen is unduly affected, it is best that you bring your son/daughter to a trustworthy, good behavioral health expert.

Aside from these telltale signs and symptoms of teen depression, unusual or extreme reactions to sad occurrences may also indicate that they could be developing depression. Sudden changes in their habits, personal hygiene, as well as restlessness, could be of special interest. The opposite, which could be slowing down, regression or loss of interest in people, things or activities that they used to love or have a passion for, may also indicate teen depression.


Toward a Depression-free, Enjoyable Adolescence

Adolescence can be among the happiest, most memorable years in your teen’s life. Depression can ruin that. Untreated, it may not only strip the color of their adolescent life – it may even extend into their adulthood. Considering the enormous challenges that they will go through, if your teen has predispositions – traumatized as a child, it “runs in the blood,” have troubling issues with family, etc. – it will be proactive to provide the depressed teen with the right professional help.

Untreated depression can cause permanent damage in their lives, even beyond adolescence as it becomes a barrier in their interactions, education, health, etc. Because of it, they may not finish college, have the social skills to interact with colleagues and peers, have poor physical and emotional health, and/or have other emotional issues.  When depression is drawn out for too long, they may have difficulty achieving their goals, lagging in their pursuits and continually having fewer career options and opportunities.

Early intervention is the preferable option when your teen has the tendency to develop teen depression. If the signs have been missed when they were younger, it isn’t too late to seek help now. Commonly, many young people struggle longer than necessary because the depressive symptoms are confused as typical adolescent changes. This is possible, but there is the strong likelihood that depression is behind the sadness, anger and other symptoms. The best way to find out and to provide the right help promptly is to seek the assistance of an experienced counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

Like many youngsters, your teen likely will not initiate seeking help from a therapist or counselor, despite their challenges. Take the initiative and schedule that first appointment with a right fit counselor independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville – Fayetteville, NC. It may be easier for them to attend the first session after you have arranged/booked it on their behalf. Once you notice the persistence and intensity of the symptoms, don’t wait too long before you call CCS. This is by far the best and the most loving decision you can provide your teen.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: 910-636-0011 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: 910-308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

Other Contact Info

If you have a compliment, concern or comments please contact:

Contact Management:
click here

If you need to speak specifically to the owner
Click here and use our Contact Form

Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC