Depression, also known as major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression, is listed as a chronic medical illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is recognized as a serious mood disorder. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that depression is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. Depression affects the way a teenager feels, thinks, and acts, and it can cause emotional, functional, and physical problems. While depression can develop at any age, symptoms commonly surface in adolescence and young adulthood. Findings from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2017, report nearly 3.2 million adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17 had experienced at least one major depressive episode. Major depressive disorder that goes untreated can increase the risk of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, substance abuse, and more. MDD is a complex psychiatric disorder that affects mood, cognition, behavior, and impedes adaptive functioning.
How To Help
It can be difficult to distinguish between behaviors associated with typical teenage insecurities and those that may be indicative of depression. However, being aware of and able to recognize the warning signs of teenage depression is imperative. When a teenager is struggling with depression consider providing support through the following suggestions:
- Have open lines of communication: create an emotionally safe environment for your teenager to share. Have regular check-ins to make sure your teen knows you are available to listen and provide feedback (when asked).
- Encourage your teen to take care of his or her body: engaging in healthful habits and physically taking care of one’s body can improve mental health. To help get them started offer suggestions like:
- Eat nutritious meals
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and other drugs
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Explore different de-stressing techniques with your child: try out different stress reducing tactics and relaxation exercises to quiet the mind, like yoga or meditation. Research has found that meditation can help lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improve insomnia, and more.
- Help your teen discover what makes them laugh: research shows that laughter can boost one’s immune system, ease pain, enhance relaxation, assuage depression, and reduce stress.
- Encourage your teen to revisit and take part in things that made them happy in the past: although a common symptom of depression is being unable draw joy from previously enjoyed pastimes, going through the motions of engaging in hobbies or activities that were once fulfilling can be comforting and a familiar reminder that life has the potential to be brighter.
- Remain non-judgmental and show compassion: every child wants to feel seen, loved, and appreciated.
It is important to be aware of your own limitations and recognize that your teenager may be dealing with certain issues that extend beyond your abilities. There is a plethora of highly qualified professionals available that have extensive experience, expert knowledge, and specialize in working with young people struggling with depression.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
OUR KNOWLEDGEABLE ADMISSIONS TEAM CAN BE REACHED 24/7 AT INFO@PACIFICRTC.COM OR CALL: (866) 602-5512 We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.