Depression can be a response to many situations and stresses. Many causes can contribute to teenage depression including:
The death of a friend or loved one.
Recent end in a relationship
Failing at school
Conflict with Parents
Being bullied at school
Child abuse, physical, emotional, and sexual
Not fitting in social groups because of a lack of social skills
Adolescent depression can have a negative impact in many areas of a teenager’s life. Teens who are depressed often have low self-worth, are critical of themselves and others, lose motivation, oversleep, over eat, can show aggression or anger, and feel out of control in their lives.
It is important to note that teenager girls are twice as likely as boys to struggle with depression. A family history of depression can also put teenagers at greater risk.
When should parents seek professional help?
Seeking professional help for a struggling son or daughter is essential in helping your child to get back on track. Often it is easy to look the other way or to pretend that there is nothing wrong with a child, but once the symptoms have become persistent the risk for life-long problems grow dramatically. Immediate action should be taken to help the child to get back on track and to prevent more long-term problems.
WARNING: If your child has exhibited any of the following behaviors recently he or she may have an elevated suicide risk and you should seek professional help immediately:
1. Giving away personal possessions, or talking about leaving or dying.
2. Planning suicide.
3. Self-destructive behaviors such as cutting or hurting themselves.
4. Sudden changes in behavior.
5. Talking about hurting themselves or others.
6. Withdrawing from family and friends.
7. “Over the top” substance abuse. Drinking until they pass out or taking excessive amounts of drugs.
8. Giving up on life. Hopelessness.
How is depression treated?
If you feel like your son or daughter is depressed here are some possible treatment options:
1. Develop consistent sleep patterns; i.e., go to bed at a reasonable hour and don’t sleep in.
2. Take a look at diet. What is he or she eating? Get rid of the junk food and eat a healthy balance of nutritious foods.
3. Get him or her off the couch and become more active. Start an exercise regimen.
4. Get him or her away from people who are not supportive or caring.
5. Get your teen involved in activities that make him or her happy.
6. Get him or her communicating with someone who is safe who he or she can talk to about your feelings.
7. Avoid alcohol and drugs. They often amplify feelings of depression, especially when “coming down” off the high.
8. Get your child to spend time doing things that take his or her mind off of your wounds, such as helping someone or doing acts of service.
9. Help your teen to organize his or her life. This will help eliminate any feelings of being overwhelmed.
10. Keep a journal of daily blessings.
11. Have a positive attitude.
12. Keep busy. Laziness is an incubator for depressed and worthless feelings. Help your teen to become engaged in uplifting and challenging activities.
13. Try to stay out of the fray with your child. Balance your interactions. For instance, if you have a negative interaction, such as a disciplining moment, try to balance that with creating a positive experience.
14. If you child is currently taking medication visit a psychiatrist to see about the possibility of adjusting the dosage or changing the prescription.
15. Talk therapy may be helpful. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help your son or daughter to be more aware of what makes them happy and sad and can help them to gain needed problem solving tools.
16. Joining a support group for people experiencing similar problems may also be helpful.
Different Types of Depression:
Major depression is the most common form of depression. Those suffering from major depression may experience any of all of the following: extreme sadness, thoughts of death or suicide, mood swings, feelings of low-worth, feelings of guilt, a lack of energy, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, changes in eating habits, physical pain or difficulty concentrating. These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks for an official diagnosis. If you think you or your son or daughter may be suffering from major depression please make an appointment with a mental health care professional to receive immediate help.
This is also a common form of depression that may last up to a year or more. Those struggling with this type of depression also have difficulty concentrating and are often sad or “low” in spirit. However, this type of depression can be easily overcome through talk therapy. It is estimated that about 2 percent of the U.S. population has a form of depression less severe than major depression.
It has been estimated that 85 percent of new mothers experience some level of sadness after the baby is born. For around 13 percent of those mothers their depression is severe enough to be diagnosable.
Seasonal Affective disorder:
Four to six percent of people in the United States are estimated to suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD. You may have experienced this yourself or may know someone who has experienced this seasonal “funk.” SAD mainly affects people in the winter, mainly due to the decrease in the amount of sunlight. This type of depression may be characterized by weight gain, fatigue, increased irritability, or increased anxiety. SAD symptoms are typically mild.
This type of depression is less well known than other types of depression. Common symptoms may be oversleeping or overeating. A feeling of heaviness in the arms or legs is also common with this form of depression.
This type of depression is typically accompanied by some or all of the following symptoms: delusions, may become catatonic, not leave their bed, or stop speaking all together. About 10 to 15 percent of depressed people experience episodes so severe that they become delusional.
This type of depression is characterized by extreme highs and lows. Symptoms of bipolar may include: high energy, excitement, depressed moods, suicidal thoughts, poor judgment, and rapid and racing thoughts. By some estimates, 2 to 3 percent of the U.S. population are affected by bipolar disorder.
premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD):
This is a type of depression that affects women during their second half of their menstrual cycles. PMDD is much more severe than PMS and can affect around 5 percent of women. Symptoms of PMDD may include: depression, severe mood swings, inability to have a healthy relationship during active symptoms, and anxiety.
Situational depression stems from a life-changing or stressful event. Events that could cause situational depression could include, losing a job, death of a loved one, abuse, divorce or other relationship breakup, or other types of trauma. Symptoms may include: excessive sadness, nervousness, and extreme worrying.
How is depression diagnosed?
The only way that depression can be diagnosed is by a face-to-face meeting with a mental health care professional licensed to practice in the mental health field. As a parent it is in the best interest of your child to seek medical help if you feel like your son or daughter may be depressed. Professionals may include psychiatrists’, counselors’ or mental health facilities that specialize in treating youth who are depressed.
**Note: This page is meant for informational purposes only. It is not a complete list of all disorders, but rather the most common disorders present in the youth that are served by the Turning Winds Academic Institute therapeutic boarding school facility. For further understanding and information about any of the above disorders, please consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V-TR.