Avery’s House is a teen mental health treatment center in Arizona. Our specialized behavioral health professionals work with adolescents to evaluate, diagnose, and stabilize various teen mental health conditions, including depression.
While depression has several main symptoms, one of the most prominent is hopelessness and the feeling of isolation.
A teen suffering from this condition needs family and friends rallying around them. They can also benefit from teen therapy for depression. This combination of support can reinforce the structure they need to take healthy steps toward finding ways to climb from the clutches of lonely despair.
Taking those steps is not easy.
Understanding depression and its roots is the key to finding tools to build good mental health.
Depression: A Quick Overview
Depression comes in several shapes and sizes. However, the symptoms need to last longer than two weeks to be clinically diagnosed.
Most people have days when they feel a little depressed, but the symptoms generally pass quickly and are not confused with the clinical variety.
There are five main types of depression:
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Postpartum Depression
- Psychotic Depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
These varieties have many of the same symptoms but different roots.
- Sadness or deflated feeling
- Lack of hope
- Low energy
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Scattered thoughts, lack of focus
- Suicidal thoughts
- Altered appetite and weight loss/gain
- Random body pain
- Feeling sluggish in body and speech
Depression can project differently for every person. Someone suffering from depression can have some of the symptoms listed above or all of them. Each person is different. That means some of the symptoms may be very evident, while others fail to manifest or do so in a manner they don’t pick up.
Sometimes the symptoms of depression are more evident to others than to the sufferer.
What Causes Depression?
Depression has varied causes. Sometimes it is a chemical imbalance that can manifest for years at a time. Other times it follows a seasonal lack of sunlight.
For teens, the causes can be from outside the body and how the mind and body react to the outside influences. A hard breakup, bullying, or loss a in the family can trigger the body’s defense mechanisms.
Teens have typically not built up the experience and coping mechanisms to deal with life as well as adults. This means they are more susceptible to life trauma than adults.
Research has shown that depression can follow genetic paths. This does not mean it has to follow family lines, but teens with parents who chronically suffer from depression are more likely to suffer the same challenges.
Another cause for teens can be drug use. Most drugs are labeled as uppers and downers. Downers like alcohol, opiates, barbiturates, and benzos artificially depress the mind and body. They slow everything down and often imitate the symptoms of clinical depression.
Drug abuse in this fashion can alter brain chemistry in everyone, but teens are especially vulnerable.
Likewise, uppers can create a false sense of euphoria, leaving reality in a depressed state.
Another cause linked to teenage depression is an increase in sedentary lifestyles. According to a 2019 survey, teens spend between five and a half hours daily on social media. This contributes to a massive uptick in teenage depression.
According to a Reuters article on teenage depression, every hour spent playing on a screen and not being active increased the chances of depression by 8 – 11%.
All of this points to there not being a single cause for depression. Understanding the contributing factors can help a therapist formulate an effective treatment program. Treatment is often as varied as the sources of the initial depression.
Effects of Depression in Teenagers
The interesting thing about depression is that it can be a spiraling mental issue.
While the main source of depression can be varied, treatments can often be the things depression takes away from a teen. For instance, physical activity can reduce or reverse the effects of depression, but depression often makes the sufferer lethargic.
Sometimes it can be difficult for parents to pinpoint the depression. Teens can be moody, irritable, and sleep a lot just because they are teenagers.
As their bodies change, hormones take over, and they try to figure out where they fit in the world, teens can undergo mood swings and mental retreats. Some of this is normal, but sometimes it can be a sign of depression.
The best way to determine the difference is to be a part of the teen’s life. Conversation and spending time together can allow a parent to determine the severity of the changes.
When figuring out the first step, a parent may find it useful to speak with a school counselor or medical professional. Tracking symptoms and seeing if there is a pattern or a long period of depression can be insightful.
The most useful thing to do is talk to the teen. Establish a baseline so if they begin to show worse symptoms of depression, the information can be taken to a medical professional.
Being open and honest with the teen can help them monitor themselves.
Asking the teen to track symptoms can be very insightful for parents and medical professionals.
Encouraging teens to step away from social media and be active is a proven step toward positive mental health. This doesn’t mean a teen needs to run out and join a sports team, but it can be helpful to provide opportunities for the teen to be active.
This could be as simple as walking or riding a bike to and from work.
Too much screen time can also alter sleep patterns, which can play into depression cycles. Natural light can help reset circadian rhythms.
Don’t shame depression. Encourage teens to be open and honest with how they feel. Oftentimes early treatment can help a teen develop the skills to deal with later bouts of depression.
Treatment for Depression
There are two main medical treatments for depression, medication and therapy. Doctors may recommend one or the other or a combination of the two. Finding the right balance can be the key to helping someone gain control of depression.
Being open with the doctor and therapist can help create a positive experience.
Working with professionals can also help a patient find a treatment that works faster. For a long time, depression was stigmatized as being a weakness. Recent studies have shown that to be false.
A patient needs to understand that everyone faces bouts of depression. Some people have it worse.
Depression treatment must be taken seriously and worked through with a trained healthcare provider. With understanding and support, anyone suffering from depression can find the right combination of treatment and medication to achieve success.
There is a wide variety of medications available for treating depression. They range from mild in effect to drastic mood-altering drugs. Doctors generally ease in to see what level of drug works best to help create an elevated mood baseline.
Here is a basic list of depression medications:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Atypical antidepressants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- Additional medications
These medication families offer a wide range of options for doctors to choose from. Finding the correct medication that works best with a patient’s body chemistry can be a process.
Medications work to balance moods and counter the brain chemistry that can bring on depression. A patient must be aware that many antidepressant medications have strong side effects. Doctors will make the patient aware, but it is the patient’s responsibility to let the doctor know of any changes.
The list of additional medications is also extensive. They are usually prescribed to help balance out the effects of prescribed medicine.
The use of therapy can offer great benefits when used to combat depression. Also known as talk therapy or psychotherapy, working with a licensed therapist can help a person develop the skills to recognize and take proactive steps toward dealing with depressive episodes.
The first thing a therapist will try to identify is the cause of the depression. Working with a doctor can determine if the stressor is inside or outside the body.
Finding the root of the problem is a major step in finding ways to deal with depression.
The therapist will also help a patient develop positive life habits to replace negative ones that can lead to depression.
If the source of the depression lies outside the patient, building positive habits can help a person gain a sense of self-control that can help them take steps to prevent or reduce future bouts with depression. Understanding and knowledge are skills a therapist will help a patient develop.
A therapist may also introduce further forms of therapy to help a patient be successful. These may include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and brain stimulation therapy.
This form of therapy seeks to modify negative behavior and reinforce positive replacements. Behavioral therapy is based on the belief that habits are learned over a lifetime. Just as negative behavior can be learned, it can be replaced with positive behavior.
The key to this type of therapy is understanding and accepting shortcomings. Once a patient takes this step, they can begin to build positive modifiers.
Based on the belief that people are social creatures, interpersonal therapy seeks to help build and reinforce positive relationships for the patient.
Using a structured approach can help patients gain control over their lives. This understanding can help them develop support structures that can also help them avoid depression cycles.
The process helps patients group their relationships into categories.
Understanding the differences in relationships can help patients understand how they interact with people at different times of the depression cycle. This can be enlightening when they are trying to develop relationships that will positively build them up.
Brain Stimulation Therapy
Brain stimulation therapy may be possible if it is discovered through counseling and doctor interviews that depression stems from chemical imbalances.
By using electrical currents, either implanted electrodes or exterior electrodes, doctors can help stimulate the brain and modify mental disorders that have depression as one of their symptoms.
Usually, brain stimulation is the last resort. However, most side effects of the treatment are generally mild.
This treatment typically does not work for exterior causes of depression.
Avery’s House – Personal Support for Depression
At Avery’s House, we work exclusively with teens suffering from various issues, including depression.
Working with most insurance plans, we have the tools to help families find solutions to depression. With an individually crafted plan, we can treat depression. By working with the families, we aim to build a longstanding support structure for the teen.
We work exclusively with 11 – 18-year-olds.
At Avery’s House, you can find everything your teen needs to build positive habits for dealing with depression. We offer both residential living and outpatient therapy.
In addition, we work closely with the families of our patients so that they fully understand what their teens are going through and how they can best help them find success. Academic options are available, so teens don’t fall behind while finding solutions for depression.
Contact Avery’s House to see how we can help build positive habits for your teen to overcome depression. Speak with one of our licensed therapists to see your options to create a brighter future for your child.
Our goal is to provide solutions when the light seems dimmest.