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Possible Signs of Depression
Many of the serious behavioral and physical problems that our youth experience can be the result of depression. Often times youth will not tell an adult that they are depressed, although they may express their depression indirectly. If you see one or more of these surface signs of depression, the youth should receive a thorough mental health evaluation:
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger management problems
  • Alienation or withdrawal from family, peers, teachers, co-workers
  • Running away from home
  • School avoidance
  • Doing poorly or dropping out of school
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Gang involvement and violent behavior
  • Fire setting
  • Legal problems
  • Early pregnancy
  • Nutritional deficiencies or obesity
  • Persistent headaches or stomachaches
  • Increased physical health problems
  • Becoming a smoker
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Homicide attempts
  • Suicide attempts
It is important to understand that the brain determines one?s mood, thoughts, actions and judgment. When a medical illness like depression affects the brain, the individual?s mood and thoughts will be affected, and may also negatively affect their actions and judgement. Many adults view youth who are irritable or acting out as behavior-problem youth, without being aware that a very treatable underlying cause such as depression may be affecting the youth. While youth need to be held accountable for their actions, it is equally important that their depression be recognized, evaluated and treated, if present.