It’s certainly easy for parents to assume that most adolescent outbursts are the results of hormonal changes, stress, and a changing brain. How can you tell if your child’s moodiness is actually depression, anxiety or something else?

There are three things to consider when you’re assessing your adolescent’s moods.

Severity: Keep an eye on your child’s emotions, whether it’s a down mood, outbursts, crying, or other symptoms. The more severe these signs are, the more likely it is that he or she may be depressed or troubled in some way.

Duration: How long is the distressed mood lasting? If it seems to go on for a while, it could mean your child is struggling and needs help.

Different Areas of Life: Is your child only acting out at home, but fine at school? Noticing changes in different venues may signify a mood disorder instead of just moodiness.

It’s important to remember that the things we call “protective factors” when it comes to depression and anxiety, such as social interaction, sports, and good rest, are often not enough. A child who is suffering from depression needs medical care. You can take a free and anonymous screening on your adolescent’s behalf.