Depression In Children And Adolescents
Depression is common in adolescents. In 2014, an estimated 2.8 million children age 12-17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode, according to NIMH.
Adolescents are often moody. But if your child is extremely irritable, has ongoing problems with motivation, or has persistent sadness that lasts two weeks or more, it’s a good idea to have him or her evaluated for depression.
While antidepressant medications can be effective for children and adolescents, they can have side effects in young people, including an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. For that reason, many parents and healthcare providers prefer to try treating children with psychotherapy first. Both CBT and IPT are effective treatments for young people with depression. Studies also show that a combination of antidepressant medication and cognitive behavior therapy is highly effective in treating youth depression.
The good news is that most kids recover from depression. Still, research shows that people who have depression as children are at a higher risk of having a recurrence later in adolescence or adulthood. Both CBT and IPT can help kids recognize the signs of a depressive episode, so that they can monitor their symptoms and get help quickly if they experience a recurrence.
The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges Laura Mufson, PhD, Lynn Bufka, PhD, and C. Vaile Wright, PhD for contributing to this fact sheet.
What Are The Different Antidepressants And How Do They Work
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants cause changes in brain chemistry that affect how neurons communicate. Exactly how this improves mood remains somewhat of a mystery, but the fact that they do often work is well-established.
- SSRIs This category of drug includes Prozac , Celexa , and Zoloft and targets serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control mood, appetite, and sleep.
- SNRIs SNRIs include drugs like Cymbalta , Pristiq , and Effexor XR , which block the reabsorption of both serotonin and another neurotransmitter, norepinephrine.
- NDRIs This class of medications includes bupropion.
- TCAs TCAs include such drugs as Tofranil and Pamelor . These drugs were among the earliest antidepressants to come on the market. These days, doctors generally only turn to them when treatment with SSRIs, SNRIs, and NDRIs has failed.
- MAOIs MAOIs, including Nardil and , were the first antidepressants developed. Theyre rarely used today, in part because people who take them require careful monitoring to prevent negative interactions with certain foods and other medications.
All antidepressants can have side effects, but some may be more problematic than others. You may need to try several different medications, or a combination, guided by your doctor, before you find what works best for you.
Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to turn to, its never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
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Learn About Clinical Depression
As a mood disorder, depression is not typically something that just gets better with time. The more you can learn about depressive disorders, the better youll understand the dangerous side effects and the possibilities for treatment and recovery. And the more confident youll be about supporting your loved one in crisis
Listen To Upbeat Music
I have always thought of music as food for the soul. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive vibe. Listening to upbeat, happy music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.
One study found that findings indicate that music listening impact the psychobiological stress system, which means music has the ability to lower stress and regulate mood. Both of these can help relieve some symptoms of depression.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
Practice These Coping Skills Every Day
I recommend doing many if not all of the following coping skills and techniques once a day when experiencing depression. Its important to know you probably wont be motivated to do any of them at first because depression frequently saps motivation. In other words, know that its normal to feel unmotivated until youre halfway done.
The patients I work with who frequently practice these coping skills get better.The seven techniques can be memorized with the acronym MY PEERS.
1. Meaning: Find small ways to be of service to others.
Find personal meaning by serving something larger than yourself. Remember service doesnt have to be big to count. Consider this, Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued it must ensue as the unintended side effect of ones personal dedication to a course greater than oneself. Viktor E. Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning
2. Your goals: Find workable goals that give you a sense of accomplishment.
Most people feel guilty when talking about goals because they set unreasonable or unworkable goals. A goal is workable if its:
If something goes wrong with your goal, adopt a what can I learn from this? attitude . Also, be careful when comparing your progress with others. We usually compare our biggest weakness with another persons biggest strength. This is unfair .
3. Pleasant Events: Schedule pleasant activities or events.
4. Engagement: Stay in the present.
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Stop The Negative Self
Depressed people tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong, they blame themselves, and when they go right, they put it down to luck. Depression reinforces self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness.
Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is being clouded by your depression. Dont take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling low. Acknowledge the thoughts, but this doesnt mean you have to believe them.
Try And Change Your Outlook
Depression can drown you in negative thoughts. People dealing with a mental health disorder can get trapped in a loop of self-recrimination and blame. Getting too deep in the throes of depression can leave you feeling paralyzed and unable to help yourself. It becomes impossible to see anything other than despair.
Something as simple as lifting your head and looking out the window can change your thoughts. Physical or mental actions can work wonders in shifting your emotions. Therapy sessions with a mental health counselor can also give you perspective on how depression affects your thinking patterns.
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Using Depression To Grow
One can make any emotion into a creative force in their life. If your sadness reminds you that you are incomplete, it is good make use of your sadness to grow. Do you want to make this sadness into anger or into love and compassion? It is very easy when you are sad, to become compassionate. It is already a dissolving kind of energy you can use it for further dissolution which leads you to your ultimate wellbeing. But, when you get sad, if you are going to get irritable and angry, and think the whole world is wrong, you are a fool.
The unfortunate reality with people right now is that their humanity will function only when they are mauled by life. For most people, maturity will not happen without knowing sadness and pain. Otherwise they never understand what is happening with them and with anyone else around them.
In Yoga, depression is handled at the level of the body, mind and the energies. If the necessary balance and exuberance is brought about in the physical, mental and energy bodies, being blissful is very natural. In a blissful being, depression can never exist.
Q: Sadhguru, you say that being blissful is natural, but isnt depression also a natural emotion within a human being?
How To Overcome Depression: In Conclusion
We all experience sad, challenging chapters in our lives just as we all experience change. And regardless of whether or not our outside circumstances drastically shift, if our minds change, everything can change. This is why some people have very few resources and swear that they are the happiest people on the planet, while others have literal fame and fortune and yet they struggle with depression and addiction.
If you are battle weary from depression, try challenging your next dark VOD. Try doing the opposite of what the voice of depression suggests. Try upgrading an unkind mind mood to a kinder, quiet one. Seek out safe support from someone who really understands. Practice compassionate inner dialogues and more spirit fillers than time killers. Make sure you are properly charging your body battery and see how the next chapter unfolds. Thank you for joining me. Take good care.
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Find Something To Look Forward To
This is a technique I routinely use as an anti-blues vaccination. When Im down I search for something to put on the calendar that makes me happy and excited. Indeed, this 2007 study showed that people get an emotional lift when they contemplate a future fun event, versus looking back on a fabulous activity from the past. Book a trip, buy concert tickets, plan a partywhatever brings a flush to your cheeks and a rumble of joy to your belly.
My biggest mood turnarounds arise when I begin a project that can potentially create some good in the world and lead to fulfilling connections. For example, Ive volunteered as a mentor to underserved young women who want to write, sought publishing contracts to write a book, taught workshops, submitted a video to do a TedX talk . The point is: stop continually telling yourself nothing good will ever again happenyouve been there, seen that, done that.
The Upshot: Depression is a diagnosable and treatable condition. There’s no reason to suffer in silence or to guess whether or not what you’re feeling qualifies as depression. Your primary care physician can help direct you to someone who specializes in mental health. In the meantime, here’s a guide to the s and a quick assessment . You can also download one of these for more information.
*Names of patients are changed
Upgrade Your Mind Mood
In my work with clients, I like to teach what I call three different mind moods:
- unkind mind,
- kind mind and
- quiet mind.
Theyre all pretty self-explanatory. But suffice it to say that an unkind mind dishes out negative and critical thoughts. A kind mind is when were thinking positively or kindly toward ourselves and others. And when were in a quiet mind mode, were simply in the present moment and our minds are at peace.
Lets say you become aware that your unkind mind has been running the show. Here you are going about your day and you become aware of thoughts like, why bother, things are hopeless, Ill always be depressed, Ill never be happy or everyone else has more fill in the blank.
Now youre at a crossroad. You can keep recycling and believing the thoughts that your unkind mind is dishing out, or you can make a conscious decision to either upgrade your thought to a kinder one or to quiet your mind by turning your attention to something that is actually factually present in the here and now, otherwise known as reality.
As you gain more awareness of your depressive thoughts and more willingness to upgrade them, you will start to get some breaks in the regularly played unkind mind programs.
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Connect With Friends And Family
This can be one of the hardest things to do when feeling depressed, but it is one of the most rewarding activities. Isolating oneself from others may seem like a good idea, but put a limit on it and then get out there again.
Confiding in friends and family members can have a huge positive effect on your mood.
How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. Its not easy dealing with a friend or family members depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved ones recovery. You can help them to cope with depression symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, dont forget to look after your own emotional healthyoull need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Understanding depression in a friend or family member
Depression is a serious condition. Dont underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a persons energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one cant just snap out of it by sheer force of will.
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Strategies To Improve The Management Of Depression In Primary Care
Efforts to improve the management of depression and other common mental disorders in primary care have focused on screening, education of primary care providers, development of treatment guidelines, and referral to mental health specialty care. Although well intended, these efforts have by and large not been effective in reducing the substantial burden of depression and other common mental disorders in primary care.81 Another approach to improve care for patients with depression is to co-locate mental health specialists into primary care clinics. Having a mental health professional such as a psychologist, a clinical social worker, or a psychiatrist available to see patients in primary care can improve access to mental health services but there is little evidence that such co-location of a behavioral health provider in primary care by itself is sufficient to improve patient outcomes for large populations of primary care patients.82
Or Spend Time With Loved Ones
Depression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from people you love and trust, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies.
If youre unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful.
Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like youre a burden. You need the interaction and they likely do, too.
Research has shown that keeping a journal can be a beneficial add-on method for managing mental health conditions.
Writing down your thoughts can help you express what youre feeling more clearly. It can also help you keep track of what symptoms youre having each day and identify what causes them.
You can make a goal to write for a few minutes each day or week. Most importantly, what you want to write about is completely up to you.
When you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain.
Research shows doing new things can feel rewarding improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships.
To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.
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Put Your Thoughts On The Witness Stand
Once you identify the destructive thoughts patterns that contribute to your depression, you can start to challenge them with questions such as:
- Whats the evidence that this thought is true? Not true?
- What would I tell a friend who had this thought?
- Is there another way of looking at the situation or an alternate explanation?
- How might I look at this situation if I didnt have depression?
As you cross-examine your negative thoughts, you may be surprised at how quickly they crumble. In the process, youll develop a more balanced perspective and help to relieve your depression.