One of the biggest problems with depression is that when you’re depressed, hope is gone and asking for help seems impossible. That’s why most depressed people never seek depression treatment. Without treatment, however, depression can get worse, even to the point of being life-threatening.
Your teenage years are a time of intense change and uncertainty, and to be confused and disappointed sometimes is absolutely normal. But teen depression can prevent you from enjoying and benefiting from these years.
Individual therapy, group therapy and antidepressants can help.
Seek out regular counseling. Many teenagers find talking with a school counselor helpful, but clinical depression often calls for the help of a mental health professional who has experience working with depressed teenagers. Your doctor can recommend a counselor. A combination of individual and group therapy (with your family) is usually the most effective method of depression treatment.
In addition to individual and group therapy, mental health professionals may also recommend the use of antidepressants to help treat teen depression.
Antidepressant medications are not “uppers” and they are not addictive. When depression is so bad that you can’t focus on anything else, when it interferes with your life in an overwhelming way, medication, in addition to counseling, might be necessary. You may only begin to experience the effects of an antidepressant after several weeks of treatment, so don’t get frustrated if you don’t “feel better” right away. And one medication may work better than another; so talking with your doctor frankly about what you are experiencing is important.
The best depression treatment is communication. Talk to someone! When teenagers and adults are depressed, they often feel that something is terribly wrong with their life. Whether you are right or wrong about that, the right person can help you understand what’s going on inside you. Talk to your school counselor, your family doctor, or your youth pastor.
Advice to Parents
If your teen has a mild form of depression, communication is very important. Depressed teens often feel a lack of connection with friends and family. They may avoid family gatherings and events. Teens who used to spend a lot of time with friends may now spend most of their time alone and may lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Teens may not share their feelings with others, believing that they are alone in the world and no one is listening to them . . . or even cares. Sometimes a school counselor can help you understand more about your teenager.