MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER, SIGNS AND TREATMENT
As the most common type of depression, major depressive disorder (MDD), affects young people who experience consistent and debilitating feelings of sadness or worthlessness.
All teens will experience bouts of sadness, and many even moments of worthlessness in adolescence, but not all will go on to develop MDD. These feelings will naturally dissipate in time and with a change of circumstance for those who do not have major depressive disorder. For young people who do have MDD, obtaining treatment to help navigate and alleviate the symptoms is necessary.
What to Look For
Major depressive disorder can manifest in a number of different ways in teens. Some young people may experience a loss of interest in previously enjoyed pastimes such as sports, school, friendships…etc. Teens may experience significant weight fluctuations, changes in sleep habits (for example sleeping too much, or inability to fall asleep or stay asleep), and/ or low self-esteem. Some additional examples of symptoms that can be exhibited in a young person with major depressive disorder include:
• Random crying spells
• Excessive feelings of guilt
• Extreme self-criticism
• Social isolation
• Difficulty concentrating
• Overly sensitive to failures or rejection
• Body aches
• Lack of proper hygiene
• Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
• Self-harm (excessive piercing, cutting, burning…etc.)
• Risky behavior
Teenagers’ lives are made up of many challenges. It is not uncommon for a teen to exhibit one or more of the above symptoms and not have MDD. However, if there is any concern or even a question that a teen may be struggling with major depressive disorder, it is essential to get help. MDD is a highly treatable disorder and the sooner a young person obtains help, the better. Major depressive disorder must be diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, as the diagnosis process can be somewhat complicated.
Pacific Teen Treatment will use a combination of approaches to help treat its residents, as we create individualized treatment plans for each of our teens. We also find it important for our residents to practice daily exercise and healthy eating habits. Furthermore, we encourage our teens to integrate yoga and or meditation into their lives while in treatment, as learning different relaxation methods can be incredibly beneficial to one’s treatment process and thereafter. There are many approaches to treating teenagers with MDD. Young people who have a mild case of major depressive disorder are ordinarily treated with psychotherapy. The most common types of therapeutic modalities for MDD include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). CBT is a type of therapy that combines behavioral therapy with talk therapy. DBT primarily uses mindfulness-based principles to help a teen learn tools and techniques to work towards achieving his or her therapeutic goals through understanding one’s emotions and subsequent behaviors related to his or her emotions. IPT uses an interpersonal filter to explore and examine the relationships and their affects on a teenager’s life. Pacific Teen Treatment will create a nuanced treatment plan, incorporating the best possible therapeutic methods, specifically geared to each teen’s personal needs.
For teens that suffer from severe major depressive disorder, medication may be necessary in conjunction with various therapeutic methods. The different types of medications prescribed for MDD include: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs). If medication is necessary, at Pacific Teen Treatment, we utilize the leading experts in adolescent psychiatry, while also collaborating with our resident’s parents both for permission and continued involvement in the treatment process.
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. In order 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 is in need of 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. Seeking 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.
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