How Is Teen Depression Treated
There are a variety of methods used to treat depression, including medications and psychotherapy. Family therapy may be helpful if family conflict is contributing to a teen’s depression. The teen will also need support from family or teachers to help with any school or peer problems. Occasionally, hospitalization in a psychiatric unit may be required for teenagers with severe depression.
Your mental health care provider will determine the best course of treatment for your teen.
The FDA warns that antidepressant medications can, rarely, increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Use of antidepressants in younger patients, therefore, requires especially close monitoring and follow-up by the treating doctor. If you have questions or concerns, discuss them with your health care provider.
How To Help A Depressed Teenager
Depression is very damaging when left untreated, so dont wait and hope that worrisome symptoms will go away. If you suspect that your teen is depressed, bring up your concerns in a loving, non-judgmental way. Even if youre unsure that depression is the issue, the troublesome behaviors and emotions youre seeing are signs of a problem that should be addressed.
Open up a dialogue by letting your teen know what specific depression symptoms youve noticed and why they worry you. Then ask your child to share what theyre going throughand be ready and willing to truly listen. Hold back from asking a lot of questions , but make it clear that youre ready and willing to provide whatever support they need.
Why Are Todays Teens So Stressed Out
In my opinion, its all of the above and more, writes Therese J. Borchard, author of Beyond Blue. Most experts would agree with me that there is more stress today than in previous generations. Stress triggers depression and mood disorders, so that those who are predisposed to it by their creative wiring or genes are pretty much guaranteed some symptoms of depression at the confusing and difficult time of adolescence. I think modern lifestyles -lack of community and family support, less exercise, no casual and unstructured technology-free play, less sunshine and more computer -factors into the equation.
Borchard also wonders about the role of environmental factors such as diets of American processed fast foods and the possibility of increased exposure to toxins. She speculates that even if our brains are similar to research subjects in the past, our hectic lifestyles, environmental toxins, and other challenges may increase the stress factors that contribute to depression.
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Helping A Depressed Teen Tip : Encourage Social Connection
Depressed teens tend to withdraw from their friends and the activities they used to enjoy. But isolation only makes depression worse, so do what you can to help your teen reconnect.
Make face time a priority. Set aside time each day to talktime when youre focused totally on your teen, without distractions or trying to multi-task. The simple act of connecting face to face can play a big role in reducing your teens depression. And remember: talking about depression or your teens feelings will not make the situation worse, but your support can make all the difference in their recovery.
Combat social isolation. Do what you can to keep your teen connected to others. Encourage them to go out with friends or invite friends over. Participate in activities that involve other families and give your child an opportunity to meet and connect with other kids.
Try to reduce their social media use. Remind your teen that social media isnt an ideal substitute for face-to-face interactions. Encourage them to turn off their phoneor at least disable notificationswhen socializing in person, focusing on work, or preparing for bed.
Get your teen involved. Suggest activitiessuch as sports, after-school clubs, or an art, dance, or music classthat take advantage of your teens interests and talents. While your teen may lack motivation and interest at first, as they reengage with the world, they should start to feel better and regain their enthusiasm.
Learned Patterns Of Negative Thinking
Teens regularly exposed to pessimistic thinking, especially from their parents, can also develop depression. They may be lacking positive examples of how to overcome challenges.
Factors that may increase a teens risk for depression include:
- a family crisis, such as death or divorce
- having a difficult time with their sexual orientation, in the case of teens who are LGBTQIA+
- having trouble adjusting socially
, can have a negative impact on the way they view themselves.
However, depression in teens is highly treatable once a diagnosis is made.
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The Importance Of Accepting And Sharing Your Feelings
It can be hard to open up about how youre feelingespecially when youre feeling depressed, ashamed, or worthless. Its important to remember that many people struggle with feelings like these at one time or anotherit doesnt mean that youre weak, fundamentally flawed, or no good. Accepting your feelings and opening up about them with someone you trust will help you feel less alone.
Even though it may not feel like it at the moment, people do love and care about you. If you can muster the courage to talk about your depression, it canand willbe resolved. Some people think that talking about sad feelings will make them worse, but the opposite is almost always true. It is very helpful to share your worries with someone who will listen and care about what you say. They dont need to be able to fix you they just need to be good listeners.
How Can You Spot Depression In A Teen
The symptoms of depression can often be difficult for parents to spot. Depression is sometimes confused with the typical feelings of puberty and teenage adjustment.
- withdrawal from friends or after-school activities
- worsening school performance
Some of these symptoms may not always be indicators of depression. Appetite changes are often normal, namely in times of growth spurts and particularly if your teen plays sports.
Still, looking out for changing behaviors in your teen can allow you to help them when theyre in need.
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Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Teens With Two Or More Racial Or Ethnic Identities Report The Highest Rates Of Depression
Your teen years are often called the coming-of-age era for a reason. Youre discovering, questioning, and deciding many aspects of your identity, including what your cultural, racial, and ethnic identity means in your life.
This, coupled with societal pressures and prejudices, can reasonably leave you feeling stressed and emotionally shaken up.
Teens ages 12 to 17 years old with more than one racial identity are the most at-risk racial or ethnic group to report a major depressive episode, according to data published by
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Adolescent Depression Social Media And Technology
Todays teens face perennial adolescent issues, as well as issues that were unknown to past generations. Among the biggest contemporary problems for teens are technology in general, and social media in particular.
A recent A& E documentary series, called Undercover High, sent a group of 20-something adults into a high school in Topeka, Kansas. Posing as students, they took classes, joined clubs, and interacted with high schoolers to find out what its really like to be a teenager today.
What they discovered is thatsocial media is a primary source of anxiety and pressure for adolescents. According to one undercover student, teens become depressed when they compare. And teens often compare their lives to the people they follow on social media.
Moreover, they feel they must uphold perfection on social media. Additionally, teen girls often feel pressured to share sexual images of themselves with male students, or to post such images online.
Furthermore, Americanteens consume an average of nine hours of media a day.In fact, 50 percent of teens feel they are addicted to their smartphones.
Ultimately, the focus on screens and social media causes damage to relationships, education, and extracurricular activities. Thus, it can contribute to teen depression, as well as ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and anxiety.
How Can I Help My Teen Cope With Depression
Depression can have a profound impact on a persons life and can only compound the difficulties associated with the teenage years.
Teen depression isnt always the easiest condition to spot. However, with proper treatment your teen can get the help they need.
If depression is affecting your teens life, you should seek help from a mental health specialist. The specialist will create a treatment plan specifically for your teen. Its also important that your teen follows that plan.
Other things your teen can do to help manage depression are:
- stay healthy and exercise
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What Can Parents Do To Alleviate Teen Depression
Parenting teens can be very challenging. There are, though, some effective parenting and communication techniques you can use to help lower the stress level for your teenager:
- When disciplining your teen, replace shame and punishment with positive reinforcement for good behavior. Shame and punishment can make an adolescent feel worthless and inadequate.
- Allow your teenager to make mistakes. Overprotecting or making decisions for teens can be perceived as a lack of faith in their abilities. This can make them feel less confident.
- Give your teen breathing room. Don’t expect teens to do exactly as you say all of the time.
- Do not force your teen down a path you wanted to follow. Avoid trying to relive your youth through your teen’s activities and experiences.
- If you suspect that your teen is depressed, take the time to listen to their concerns. Even if you don’t think the problem is of real concern, remember that it may feel very real to someone who is growing up.
- Keep the lines of communication open, even if your teen seems to want to withdraw.
- Try to avoid telling your teen what to do. Instead, listen closely and you may discover more about the issues causing the problems.
- If there is a close friend or family member your teen is close to and comfortable with, you might suggest your teen talk with this person about their concerns.
If you feel overwhelmed or unable to reach your teen, or if you continue to be concerned, seek help from a qualified health care professional.
Overcoming Teen Depression Tip : Talk To An Adult You Trust
Depression is not your fault, and you didnt do anything to cause it. However, you do have some control over feeling better. The first step is to ask for help.
Need to talk to someone?
Get affordable online counseling from BetterHelp or visit HelpGuides directory for free helplines and crisis resources. HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provided link. Learn more.
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Talking About Mental Health
In particular, the associations emphasize identifying overall psychological functioning rather than specific symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts.
The teenage years in particular are a time of hormonal imbalances that can cause shifts in mood, developing self-identity, insecurity and making big decisions about career choice, said Prof. Sakina Rizvi, a scientist in the suicide and depression studies unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. She was not involved in the report.
“As a kid, and even as a parent, how do you tease apart usual ‘adolescent angst’ from something more serious? While kids these days are a lot better at talking about mental health than their parents, both youth and their parents need to be educated on the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide risk,” Rizvi said in an email.
Some parents may fear that talking about suicide will cause their child to consider suicide.
“This is absolutely not the case. Ultimately, there is no harm in talking about mental health, but there is a great harm in not talking about it.”
More Reasons For Adolescent Depression In Schools
Along with social media and other forms of technology, teens feel pressure in other areas of life. Depression in school is impacted by all of these factors. Here are a few of the issues they face.
School pressure: Many teens experience some degree of academic pressure. However, an uncertain economy and tough competition for college and graduate school make that pressure worse.
Relationships: Teens typically experience their first romantic relationships in high school or college. While this is an essential part of teen development, it can also be emotionally challenging. This is particularly true if teens dont have guidance and support in navigating this new terrain.
Lack of coping skills: Todays teens are more protected than in the past. Parents try to shield them from experiencing failure and disappointment. Therefore, teens often have fewer chances to build resilience. Thus, they dont learn how to cope with challenges.
A brain thats still growing: The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls self-regulation, is not fully developed in teens. Thus, they have a limited ability to exert control over their impulses. Consequently, this leads to teenage risk behaviors, such as substance abuse and unsafe sexual choices, which can negatively impact teen mental health.
Bullying: Bullying is directly correlated with adolescent depression in school. Below is more information about bullying and depression.
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Signs Of Depression In An Adolescent
An adolescent who is depressed may not show obvious signs of depression. Instead, they may start to behave uncharacteristically, for example by:
- becoming socially withdrawn
- refusing to eat, or gaining a lot of weight
- having physical problems including sore muscles, unexplained aches and pains
- not wanting to go to school or work
If you have noticed a change in their behaviour, its happening frequently and has gone on for more than 2 weeks, and its affecting their day to day life, then it is a good idea to seek help.
Highly Developed Countries Have Higher Rates Of Mental Disorders
Greenland, Iran, Australia, the US, and New Zealand make the top five. In contrast, countries such as Turkey, Belgium, and Norway are very dedicated to solving the issue with a high number of specialists.
Depression statistics report good conditions for patients in Belgium and Turkey which have over 100 mental health nurses per 100,000 people, for example. Japan leads the way with mental health beds .
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Increasing Risk And Symptoms
Another increasing form of depression that is occurring amongst teens today is the issue of their own sexual identity. The world got to see this with the January 2015 suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who felt rejected by her parents. She felt like they were trying to force her into conservative Christian values and would only take her to therapists that essentially told her that she needed to get right with God or prescribe medication. She felt unloved, it spiraled into depression, and she eventually stepped in front of a speeding semi-truck.
When given enough time, many teens can pull themselves away from the edge and be able to right the ship. The only problem is that there generally isnt enough time. Most teens do not spend a long time planning how theyre going to commit suicide. There is generally one minor event that becomes the catalyst for the decision to be made. A bad grade, a failure in sports, or the rejection of a parent can cause the flow of stress to flood the mind and overwhelm the teen.
This is why it is so important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and/or suicidal thoughts in teens today. Teens who feel worthless, hopeless, or guilty are at a higher risk of committing suicide. Feeling sad, having changes in eating habits, or just getting upset easily can all increase a teens risk.
Drug & Alcohol Addiction In Teens
Teens who are struggling with the emotional difficulties brought about by mental health disorders will often turn to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism. This form of maladaptive self-medication often provides short-term relief but can lead to disastrous long-term impacts. In the short term, alcohol and drug use can help to mitigate the symptoms of hopelessness, anxiety, and other negative thoughts. In the longer term, chronic use begins to exacerbate these issues and often leads to addiction and dependence. In teens, experimentation often escalates to teen addiction at a much faster rate than seen in adults, and the progression from experimentation to addiction is more likely in teens with co-occurring mental health disorders. According to a study conducted in 2016, almost half of teens with a mental health disorder will be diagnosed with a co-occurring substance abuse disorder if their mental health condition is not treated.
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How Many Teens Have Depression Why Is It So Common
The factors that go into explaining why depression is on the rise are complex. On one hand, the stigma surrounding mental health issues is being reduced. Mental health conditions are becoming a greater topic both at home and in school, as well as throughout pop culture. More and more celebrities and important figures have publicly addressed their own struggles with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other conditions. More and more people are aware of at least one famous person and one person in their own lives who has struggled with a mental health condition. Resources and options for tackling depression have become more common, as well as more accessible.
While teens are still not getting the help they need, more and more are feeling comfortable with seeking it. This means that as we continue to accept mental health conditions as an unfortunate and treatable reality, we will see rates continue to rise. Yet aside from that, the factors that may influence and cause depression in teens have also grown over time. News stories, studies, and industry research such as the Facebook Papers have revealed that technologies like social media can have a negative impact on teen self-esteem and mental health. Even if they dont cause depression, they can and do exacerbate symptoms of depression and anxiety.