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Effects of Teen Depression on Performance

By Lia Stannard ; Updated August 14, 2017

Depression during the teenage years is not uncommon. The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics states that in 2007, 8 percent of 12-to-17-year olds had a major depressive episode. Depression causes the patient to feel hopeless and worthless, but teen depression also affects the patient's performance in school and other activities.

Poor School Performance

MedlinePlus states that one symptom found in teenage depression is faltering grades in school, which is tied to poor concentration, memory lapses and the patient feeling as though nothing is worthwhile. The patient might find it difficult to manage her schoolwork, have problems remembering new information, or may not care about school anymore. Sari Frojd et al., in the "Journal of Adolescence" article “Depression and School Performance in Middle Adolescent Boys and Girls,” notes a correlation between grades and the level of depression: “The lower the self-reported grade point average (GPA) or the more the GPA had declined from the previous term, the more commonly the adolescents were depressed.” As the severity of the depression increases, the patient's performance in school decreases.

Absence From School

Another factor in poor performance in school is the patient's participation. Arthur Schoenstadt, MD, author of the eMedTV article “Teen Depression Symptoms,” states that depressed teenagers may pretend to be sick or refuse to go to school. They may feel overwhelmed by the schoolwork or may be too depressed to leave the house. Another symptom of teen depression that is involved in the absences from school is social withdrawal. The patient pulls back from friends and will try to avoid school, where he would see them. Besides not wanting to go to school, the patient may also talk or attempt to run away from home.

Decreased Interest in Activities

A depressed teenager can have a decreased interest in activities she once enjoyed. She no longer wants to participate in sports or clubs where she was once active, resulting a declining performance. Her decreased interest and social withdrawal can affect her relationships with other people, which can add to her desire to be alone.

Drastic Changes in Behavior

Behavioral changes that can occur with teen depression can also impact performance and strain relationships between the patient and people close to him. MedlinePlus notes that the patient may act out by defying rules set by his parents or start participating in criminal behaviors. Another behavioral change that can occur with teen depression is substance abuse, in which the patient turns to drugs or alcohol to control his symptoms. These substances not only exacerbate the symptoms of depression but can also affect his performance in school and other activities.

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