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What Are The Most Effective Treatments For Teen Depression?


teenage boy being treated for depression

Teenagers cannot escape experiencing the entire spectrum of emotions during adolescence: including feelings of sadness, elation, depression, frustration, pride, accomplishment, anxiety, calmness, etc. For the typically developing teenager, although the feelings may be intense, they are routinely fleeting and will generally subside as quickly as was their onset. However, young people that struggle with teen depression are unable to simply “snap out of” a depressive state. According to the Mayo Clinic, teen depression is a “serious mental health problem [that] affects how your teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and can cause emotional, functional and physical problems.” A teen with teenage depression may be quick to sink into depression and they will be unable to pull themselves out of the depressive state in a timely fashion, unlike their typically developing teenage counterpart.


There is no singular treatment plan that is entirely effective for every teenager that struggles with depression, as each person is unique. Therefore, there are a variety of treatment options, which could consist of several different components, for teens that have been diagnosed with depression. Common components of treatment for teen depression could include any combination of the following, as indicated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP):

  • Psychotherapy: common examples of psychotherapy modalities integrated into a treatment plan for teen depression could include, but are not limited to: 
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively. 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): utilizes four main strategies (e.g. mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation) for teaching individuals skills that help with effectively changing their behaviors. 
  • Interpersonal Therapy: focuses on how a young person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health. 
  • Hospitalization: teenagers with teen depression that are in danger of self-harm and/ or inflicting harm to others may require hospitalization to ensure safety until his or her symptoms are more effectively managed.
  • Treatment programs: there are inpatient treatment programs and outpatient treatment programs that can provide support and counseling, and are available for teenagers with teen depression. 

The treatment plan for teen depression will consider the nuanced mental health needs of the individual teenager and will subsequently be customized accordingly. Further, the specifics of a teen’s treatment plan will depend on the type of depression and the severity of his or her symptoms. 

For Information and Support

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 for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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