Make Physical Health A Priority
Be sure that your teen and your familyâs health is a priority. This includes physical health and the health of the family system. Promote healthy eating, activities, and teach your teen how to make healthy choices for themselves, especially when they do not feel like it.
You may also consider implementing mindfulness meditation, getting outdoors regularly, interacting with animals, reducing technology use, and encouraging your teen to take time for themself in a quiet setting absent of technology. These can all reduce stress and improve mood in teens and adults.
Depressed Or Anxious Paying Attention Could Be The Key To Recovery
Not only that: No one disputes that in-person social interaction is linked to better mental health. So even if we dismiss the correlation between social media and depressionsay, calling it neutralthe decline in in-person social interaction could certainly account for the increase in depression and unhappiness. And why has in-person social interaction declined? Probably because screen time increased.
None of this means you should yank the phone out of your teens hands. As other studies have also documented, moderate use of smartphonesaround an hour a dayis not harmful. In my analyses of data from the Youth Risk Surveillance System survey administered by the CDC, negative effects on mental health appeared only after two or more hours a day of use. Of course, most teens use their smartphones much more than two hours a day , so it makes sense to consider setting limits.
After my book excerpt was published in The Atlantic, some, like Sarah Rose Cavanagh, argued that we shouldnt draw any conclusions until we can do a controlled experiment randomly assigning groups of teens to extensive or low smartphone use. She concluded, My suspicion is that the kids are gonna be OK.
Shakya, H. B., & Christakis, N. A. . Association of Facebook use with compromised well-being: A longitudinal study. American Journal of Epidemiology.
Supporting And Encouraging Your Child
There are many things you can do to support and encourage your child through this difficult time. Two of the most important things to remember are:
1) Depression isnt a sign of weakness
2) Depression isnt something your child can simply overcome by willpower and determination.
Think of depression the same way you would think of any other chronic, relapsing medical condition: it takes time, effort, and treatment to make progress. Depression will not go away magically. It takes commitment on the part of the person with depression, their therapist/counselor/psychiatrist, and their family.
Things you can do to help the healing process include:
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Teen Depression
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two medications to treat teens with depression. One is called fluoxetine and sold under the brand name Prozac. The other is escitalopram, sold under the brand name Lexapro. Its important to note that there is no one pill that will act as a silver bullet for depression. It takes time to find the right medication and dosage for your needs. Its important to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of using antidepressant medication.
Written by: Joseph Raspolich
About Joseph Raspolich: Vista Pines Health is a mental health treatment program that is dedicated to providing quality care to those who are suffering from mental disorders. Conveniently located in sunny Pembroke Pines, Florida, we help clients, from all over the country, find healing from conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Our programs are designed to put the client first every step of the way, helping them conquer the struggles they deal with on a daily basis.
Dealing With Adolescent Pressures
When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.
- Try to make new friends. Healthy relationships with peers are central to teens self-esteem and provide an important social outlet.
- Participate in sports, job, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviors.
- Join organizations that offer programs for young people. Special programs geared to the needs of adolescents help develop additional interests.
- Ask a trusted adult for help. When problems are too much to handle alone, teens should not be afraid to ask for help.
But sometimes, despite everyones best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events , side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns.
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Natural Remedies For Teen Depression
Teens go through a lot of changes and have a lot of pressures put on them from different groups. It is not uncommon to have low periods or feelings of depression during this time. According to Mental Health America, if you are experiencing a loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy, irritability, tiredness, and prolonged sadness you cant break out of, you may be experiencing depression. Fortunately, there are small, natural changes you can make in your daily habits that can make a big difference and help alleviate the symptoms.
Take Care of Your Body
1. Exercising is a great positive activity to keep your mind and body occupied. It also releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals, into your brain and will affect you immediately. In addition, exercising boosts self confidence, especially if your depression is related to body issues.
2. Making sure you are eating right and getting the right nutrients into your body is also essential to feeling well emotionally. Eating well will help you feel better both physically and emotionally.
3. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 9 ¼ hours of sleep each night for teens and adolescents. A chronic lack of sleep can make it difficult to get through each day, difficult to concentrate, and difficult to stay motivated.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Find Healthy Outlets
Taking Care Of Yourself
Lastly, its important to make sure that youre taking care of yourself. It can be emotionally and physically exhausting to be a parent of someone who is struggling with depression. Know that you are not alone, and get support for yourself. Make sure that you make time to do things you enjoy and go out with friends. The phrase: happy mommy = happy baby still applies!
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What Are Possible Complications Of Major Depression In A Teen
Without treatment, major depression can last for weeks, months, or years. It can cause relationship and social problems. Depression is also linked to a higher risk for suicide. This risk rises when the depressed teen has other mental health problems. These include conduct disorder and substance abuse. This is especially true for teen boys.
Involve Your Child In Treatment Choices
When choosing a specialist or pursuing treatment options, always get your teens input. If you want your teen to be motivated and engaged in their treatment, dont ignore their preferences or make unilateral decisions. No one therapist is a miracle worker, and no one treatment works for everyone. If your child feels uncomfortable or is just not connecting with the psychologist or psychiatrist, seek out a better fit.
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For Information And Support
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at .
ABOUT PACIFIC TEEN TREATMENT
PTT provides treatment for the contemporary issues facing teenagers in todays world utilizing a family focused and collaborative approach providing individualized care for teens and their families. Licensed by the State of California, Community Care Licensing Division #198209636
Teenage Depression: Things To Try At Home
If your child is suffering from depression, there are important things you can do to help in your everyday family life.
Physical health and wellbeing
- Encourage your child to make healthy food and drink choices. Make sure you have a variety of healthy foods in the cupboard and fridge, and offer tasty and nutritious options at meals.
- Get your child to do some regular physical activity. Staying physically active can help to improve your childs mental health. It might be as simple as taking a 10-minute walk every day to start with.
- Encourage your child to get enough sleep. If your child is having trouble sleeping, try not to let them nap during the day regardless of how tired they feel. Help your child make time for relaxing activities before bedtime and encourage your child to avoid screen time in the hour before bed.
- If you can, make sure your child avoids alcohol and other drugs. Using these to dull sadness or pain can make your childs problems worse.
Relationships and feelings
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Causes Of Teen Depression
Biological factors, such as genes, can increase a teens risk of developing depression. However, environmental and social conditions also have a role to play. The following factors may trigger or exacerbate symptoms of depression in your teen:
Bullying.Being bullied by peers can add stress to a teens life and affect their self-esteem. This can, in turn, trigger feelings of intense helplessness and hopelessness.
Other mental and physical health conditions. Teen depression is associated with a number of other mental health problems, including eating disorders, self-injury, anxiety, ADHD, or a learning disorder. The struggles that accompany these conditions may lead a teen to feel unconfident and frustrated when it comes to academics and socializing. Similarly, physical disabilities or chronic illness can also play a role.
Past and present stressful experiences. Past trauma from violent or abusive situations can put teens at risk of depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder . Recent events, such as the loss of a loved one, can also trigger a depressed mood.
Lack of social support. Teens who feel unsupported by family or peers are at risk of depression. For example, a teen may be struggling with their sexual identity in a hostile or unaccepting environment.
Depression and social media use
How To Help A Teen With Depression
Parenting is hard, and parenting a teen with depression is even harder. It can feel nearly impossible to reach a teen who has withdrawn into their room and refuses to talk about their depressive thoughts and feelings. And, unfortunately, there is no specific formula for how to parent a teenager with depression, because every child is unique.
However, there are therapist-approved approaches for how to deal with a depressed child, such as offering unconditional love and practicing self-care by attending parent support groups. Of course, being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and access teen depression treatment is paramount.
Maintaining ongoing communication with your child is also essential. Even when teens dont want to listen or open up, parents need to keep finding ways to connect, talk to their children about what theyre going through, and let them know that they are not alone and there is hope.
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What Is The Prognosis Of Teen Depression
Depression can be quite chronic, in that 85% of people who have one episode of the illness will have another one within 15 years of the first episode. A bit over 50% of teens who are part of research studies on depression treatment significantly improve. About 12% will relapse in the first year, and about 60% of teens who suffer from clinical depression will suffer with a recurrence of it during adulthood. Clinical depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States in people over 5 years of age.
Adolescent depression is associated with a number of potentially negative outcomes, including problems at school, work, in their relationships, and with drugs. Certainly the worst potential outcome of depression, suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens.
Suicide Warning Signs To Watch For
- Talking or joking about committing suicide
- Saying things like, Id be better off dead,I wish I could disappear forever, or Theres no way out
- Speaking positively about death or romanticizing dying
- Writing stories and poems about death, dying, or suicide
- Engaging in reckless behavior or having a lot of accidents resulting in injury
- Giving away prized possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family as if for the last time
- Seeking out weapons, pills, or other ways to kill themselves
Get help for a suicidal teen
If you suspect that a teenager is suicidal, take immediate action! For 24-hour suicide prevention and support in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP or Suicide.org.
To learn more about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and what to do in a crisis, read Suicide Prevention.
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A Typical Teenage Depression Treatment Plan
Each client at Newport Academy receives a tailored treatment plan for teenage depression, designed by a team of medical and clinical experts in response to the teens and familys specific needs and history. Comprehensive psychological assessments and psychoeducational testing also inform each clients customized treatment plan. Each teens daily schedule while in teen depression treatment includes a variety of evidence-based clinical, experiential, and academic modalities.
What Is Teen Depression
The teenage years can be really tough and its perfectly normal to feel sad or irritable every now and then. But if these feelings dont go away or become so intense that you feel overwhelmingly hopeless and helpless, you may be suffering from depression.
Teen depression is much more than feeling temporarily sad or down in the dumps. Its a serious and debilitating mood disorder that can change the way you think, feel, and function in your daily life, causing problems at home, school, and in your social life. When youre depressed, you may feel hopeless and isolated and it can seem like no one understands. But depression is far more common in teens than you may think. The increased academic pressures, social challenges, and hormonal changes of the teenage years mean that about one in five of us suffer with depression in our teens. Youre not alone and your depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw.
Even though it can feel like the black cloud of depression will never lift, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself deal with symptoms, regain your balance and feel more positive, energetic, and hopeful again.
If youre a parent or guardian worried about your child
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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline
SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locator.
Tip : Manage Stress And Anxiety
For many teens, stress and anxiety can go hand-in-hand with depression. Unrelenting stress, doubts, or fears can sap your emotional energy, affect your physical health, send your anxiety levels soaring, and trigger or exacerbate depression.
If youre suffering from an anxiety disorder, it can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Perhaps you endure intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, get panicky at the thought of speaking in class, experience uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts, or live in a constant state of worry. Since anxiety makes depression worse , its important to get help for both conditions.
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What Evaluation Might Look Like
Your child’s doctor can evaluate your child’s health, make a diagnosis, recommend treatments, and refer you to another professional if necessary.
- A medical doctor can order blood tests, review family history, evaluate current medications, sleep patterns, and diet in an effort to determine if there is a physical cause for the depression.
- A psychological evaluation or psychological testing, completed by a psychologist over several sessions can provide extensive information about the severity and nature of the symptoms, contributing factors, and the possible presence of suicidal ideation. This option is best suited for cases where the diagnosis is unclear.
- An individual therapist specializing in treating teens can evaluate the symptoms based on talking to the teen and family members. This information helps point the way to make specific recommendations for next steps that are likely to be beneficial to your teen.
Information revealed about your teen’s symptoms in the evaluation plus the recommendations of the professional who administers it will make it easier to determine the next steps to take.
How To Communicate With A Depressed Teen
Focus on listening, not lecturing. Resist any urge to criticize or pass judgment once your teenager begins to talk. The important thing is that your child is communicating. Youll do the most good by simply letting your teen know that youre there for them, fully and unconditionally.
Be gentle but persistent. Dont give up if they shut you out at first. Talking about depression can be very tough for teens. Even if they want to, they may have a hard time expressing what theyre feeling. Be respectful of your childs comfort level while still emphasizing your concern and willingness to listen.
Acknowledge their feelings. Dont try to talk your teen out of depression, even if their feelings or concerns appear silly or irrational to you. Well-meaning attempts to explain why things arent that bad will just come across as if you dont take their emotions seriously. Simply acknowledging the pain and sadness they are experiencing can go a long way in making them feel understood and supported.
Trust your gut. If your teen claims nothing is wrong but has no explanation for what is causing the depressed behavior, you should trust your instincts. If your teen wont open up to you, consider turning to a trusted third party: a school counselor, favorite teacher, or a mental health professional. The important thing is to get them talking to someone.
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