4 things to do for your teenager who is going through depression


Adolescents may often not understand what they are going through and hence will avoid seeking help. It is the responsibility of parents and close ones to ensure that they recieve prompt and professional help.

The teenage years are difficult as it is. But when coupled with depression, bipolar disorder or suicidal thoughts, life can become even graver. The sudden physical and emotional changes that occur as the teen years start can become confusing to comprehend and deal with and added stress can further fuel the feeling of anxiety, isolation and sadness.

Unlike adults, teenagers are still trying to understand their own minds and bodies. They have just started the journey to try and figure themselves out. So if they are suddenly confronted by feelings of depression, it is more likely that they will not know how to handle it.

Teenagers need more guidance and support in cases of depression and anxiety. It can often be difficult to identify symptoms of depression in teenagers, but in case you do feel that something is out of the ordinary, it is better to reach out and offer some help.

First, learn to identify signs and symptoms of depression that your child may be exhibiting. If his or her behaviour has changed suddenly, has become withdrawn or aggressive, is feeling hopeless or incapable of satisfying personal goals and ideals, has unusual eating and sleeping patterns, is engaging in substance abuse etc. then you need to reach out. If these symptoms start suddenly and last for more than two weeks, it may mean that something isn’t quite right.

Depression in teenagers can often take different forms such as addiction, anxiety disorders or bipolar disorder which involves spells of sudden euphoria and sadness or isolation. They may often not understand what they are going through and hence will avoid seeking help. It is the responsibility of parents and close ones to ensure that the adolescent receives help when needed.

It is important for teenagers suffering from depression to receive prompt and professional help and the forms of therapy may vary as per the different cases.

Some of the most widely recognised and accepted forms of therapy to treat adolescent depression are as below:

1. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy involves counselling sessions with a psychologist or a counselling therapist. These sessions mostly involve talking and exchanging opinions and ideas with the counsellor. Psychotherapy is most often used to help one understand what they are going through and their own condition, moods, behaviour, feelings, thoughts etc through words and dialogue.

2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This form of therapy is based on behavioural and cognitive principles of psychology. It is most commonly used to help solve mental and emotional problems and change negative feelings, thoughts or behaviour. Cognitive behavioural therapy involves talking with a specialist to analyse the negative or stressful areas and finding techniques to resolve the problem by trying to change the thought process, negative attitude or behaviour. CBT is often used for counselling in cases of mood and anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, addiction etc.

3. Interpersonal therapy: This is a limited time therapy that focuses on counselling to help individuals improve their existing relationships and maintain a healthy balance. It is a short-term treatment that helps deal with interpersonal issues and has been shown to be extremely effective in treating cases of adolescent depression.

4. Medication: This is usually the last resort to treat adolescent depression. If the severity of the depression has become intense, the psychiatrist may recommend antidepressant medication along with psychotherapy to help relieve some of the symptoms and reduce mental stress.

It is important for us to recognise that teenagers too can fall prey to this mental disease. Before the situation gets out of control, we need to lend our helping hand to help secure and develop the minds of tomorrow.

-Neha Paranjape, AccioHealth

Courtesy: http://www.acciohealth.com

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