Anxiety and depression occur in both genders, but by the teenage years, girls are much more at risk than boys.
Before puberty, the prevalence of mood disorders is about the same in boys and girls—3 to 5 percent.
But by mid-adolescence girls are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mood disorder as boys, with the prevalence at adult levels, 14 to 20 percent.
Your child or teen might need help if he or she:
- Often feels anxious or worried
- Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time
- Has frequent stomachaches or headaches with no physical explanation
- Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time
- Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
- Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy
- Avoids spending time with friends
- Has trouble doing well in school or grades decline
- Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively
- Has low or no energy
- Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
- Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin
- Engages in risky, destructive behavior
- Harms self or others
- Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
- Has thoughts of suicide
- Thinks his or her mind is controlled, out of control or hears voices.
If your child is thinking about harming
If you know someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, thinking of suicide.
Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).