Signs of Depression in Teens

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ADHD medications can mimic depression

Medications for ADHD sometimes mimic the symptoms of depression and sometimes exacerbate symptoms of depression (and bipolar disorder). This can make it hard to distinguish which symptoms are caused by clinical depression and which symptoms are caused by the medication.

Substance abuse

Inability to cope with daily life – either from depression or symptoms of ADHD – can lead a teen down a path of self-destruction, including through substance abuse.

Development of conduct disorders

Teens who refuse to respect authority should raise a red flag among parents. Defiance and deliberate ignorance toward rules can be prevalent with students with both depression and other psychological conditions, including Oppositional Defiance Disorder.


Suicide is the most extreme act of depression. Characterized by sadness, hopelessness or emotional outbursts, parents should be on the look out for suicidal behavior among teens. If there is fear that your teen is suicidal, contact a medical professional immediately.

Withdrawal from friends and family

This is a common symptom of depression, however, difficulty in social situations is not necessarily uncommon to ADHD patients. Difficulty with impulse control can lead to difficult situations with others who may not understand the condition; this can be true for both ADHD and depression.

Difficulty concentrating and making decisions

If a teen is depressed, there is a strong chance that this is influencing your child's decision-making abilities. Inattentiveness or apparent pre-occupation can be a symptom of depression, but it could also be a sign of ADHD.

ADHD and depression

If a student is performing poorly in school, possibly from ADHD or another learning disability, it can set in motion a cycle of depression. First a student performs poorly in school due to the learning difficulty, which causes depression, which can lead to further difficulty concentrating or disinterest in school.

Consult a medical professional

Psychotherapy or counseling can help a patient to develop life skills and provide strategies to compensate for symptoms of depression that may be interfering with daily life. Counseling can provide assistance in learning to cope with the stress that comes along with depression. Often, a combination of medication and therapy can be an effective treatment strategy for individuals with depression.