Best Teenage Depression Treatment Options
The teen years have always been a turbulent developmental stage of life. Raging hormones, romantic angst, and social pressures have been perennial drivers of the teenage emotional roller coaster. That said, a troubling increase in rates of depression within this demographic is demanding we take a closer look at what might be driving this serious mood disorder. Teen girls aged 15-19 now have the highest rates of suicide ever as of 2015, and rates among boys increased 31% since 2007, according to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control.
There is much discussion about what is causing the continuing increase of depression among adolescents year after year. While gaining understanding about the sources of teenage emotional pain is crucial to turning these disheartening statistics around, being proactive about teens that are currently suffering is the top priority. When a teen is experiencing persistent symptoms of major depression it is imperative that parents obtain help for their child. With an abundance of teenage depression treatment options available, there is bound to be a solution that can turn the teen’s life around.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Teens
It isn’t always easy to tell if your teen is experiencing a depressive episode or if the low mood is related to hormonal fluctuations or a spat with a friend at school. However, when the teen displays five or more of the following symptoms continuously for two weeks or longer, they are meeting the diagnostic criteria for depression.
Symptoms of teen depression include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Irritable and angry
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Changes in appetite, with a significant weight loss or weight gain
- Declining academic performance, lack of motivation at school
- Loss of interest in school activities, school sports, social events
- Unexplained headaches or stomachaches
- Overly sensitive to criticism
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Suicidal thoughts and ideation
Possible Causal Factors of Teen Depression
Few can dispute the impact that smart phones and social media have had on the current generation of teenagers. Daily teen dramas get played out on a web of social media platforms, castigating and demoralizing the young people publicly in a way that has never been witnessed in past generations. The teen years have always involved drama, but never before have the angst-filled episodes been parsed out and shared with literally hundreds of peers in an instant. Saturated with wall-to-wall drama on a daily basis, especially if the teen is the target of humiliating verbal assaults and lies, can have a devastating impact on their mental health.
In recent weeks a 16 year-old male from Newport Beach, California took his own life. Prior to the suicide he wrote three letters he asked his family to circulate upon his death. The overriding theme of the letters revolved around intense pressure put on teens by the schools. His heartbreaking letters articulated how he felt inferior because he didn’t fit the academic mold and expected career aspirations pushed by the school. Academic pressure may indeed be a significant factor for teen depression.
Teenage Depression Treatment Options
Depression in teens should not be taken lightly. Self-harm and other destructive behaviors such as substance abuse can be a result of depression, all the more reason to seek out teenage depression treatment options sooner rather than later. There is outpatient depression treatment available as well as inpatient teen treatment for more serious cases.
Teen depression treatment will involve a comprehensive medical and psychological evaluation, as well as a thorough interview with a clinical therapist who can determine the extent of the problem, then suggest a treatment plan accordingly. Traditional treatment protocol is a combination of psychotherapies and medication.
Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to aid the teen with managing symptoms, however many of these drugs come with suicide warnings for younger patients. Two antidepressants are FDA approved for treating teens, Prozac and Lexapro. Talk therapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy, is very effective in helping the teen change the thought patterns that are contributing to the depression. Family therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy are also helpful in improving relations with those closest to the teen. Other therapeutic activities such as art therapy, equine therapy, and journaling can also provide emotional outlets and new personal insights.
Seeking Teenage Depression Treatment Options
The Treatment Specialist will connect you with a treatment center that offers inpatient and residential teen treatment facilities. Receive the best guidance from specialists who understand your difficult situation. Call and learn about the depression treatment options by calling 866-644-7911