Here’s how to know if the problem is more than just moodiness.

By Andrea Barbalich
July 01, 2016

You have a teenager who sleeps until noon, spends most of his time in his room, and barely speaks (except when he’s snapping at you). After a few weeks of this, you start to wonder: Is he just being a teenager, or could he be depressed?

If you’ve read the statistics, you know how common teen depression is: In 2014 approximately 11.4 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds (that’s 2.8 million) experienced at least one major episode of depression, according to the National Institute on Mental Health. Depression and bipolar disorders are the third most common mental health diagnosis in kids 18 and under, according to the Child Mind Institute.

But how do you know when to worry—and whether your child needs help? “It’s perfectly normal for teenagers to be moody and irritable, and not all moody teens are depressed,” says Stephanie Dowd, Psy.D., clinical psychologist in the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. “But there are some specific symptoms that could be red flags.” Here are eight to watch for:

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