Produced by Communications and Marketing, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2009
Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion,
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University,
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Mark A. McCann, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech,
Blacksburg; Alma C. Hobbs, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.
Many of us think of teen years as moody, turbulent ones.
While it is true that most teenagers have emotional ups
and downs, recent research suggests that such moodi-
ness isn’t necessarily a normal part of the teen years.
In fact, teens who seem sad or down for more than a
few weeks may actually be experiencing depression.
It is estimated that between 11 percent and 14 percent
of adolescents are clinically depressed. Don’t ignore
behavior changes or write them off as phases of ado-
lescence. If you notice any of the following symptoms,
consider the possibility that the teen may be depressed
and try to get help.
Signs and Symptoms
Teens’ families and friends may be the first to notice
the warning signs of depression.
A depressed teenager may:
•	 Seem very sad or cry frequently.
•	 Become more angry, irritable, or hostile.
•	 Begin or increase their use of drugs and alcohol.
•	 Become obsessed with poetry or music with morbid
•	 Lose interest in things that were previously enjoyed,
become apathetic, or drop out of sports or other
•	 Feel a sense of hopelessness, that life is not worth
living, or that nothing will ever change.
•	 Miss school frequently or begin to do worse in