How to Know Therapy for Teen Depression Is the Next Step

During the teenage years, everything feels very intense and confusing. Hormones push a tidal wave of emotions that often make things even more stressful. Sometimes, all these things combined can lead to something more serious than teen angst, but for parents it can be hard to recognize when therapy for teen depression is the next step.

While teen depression can seem similar to teen angst at times, I assure you that they’re very, very different and one is much more dangerous than the other.

Teens unlikely to tell you they’re ‘depressed’

Relying on your teen to tell you they’re feeling depressed probably isn’t the best strategy. It’s up to you to watch for signs your teen may need therapy for teen depression–it’s also your job to have an open channel of communication with them.

A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that while at least 1 in 10 teens in the US suffer from depression, very few of them will use the word “depressed” when describing how they’re feeling.

The research showed that teens are more likely to use less telling descriptors, such as feeling “stressed” or “down.” These words could sound like regular teen angst and drama to a parent’s ears–but they could be signaling that something much more worrying is going on.

One of the co-authors, Daniela DeFrino, PhD, RN, an assistant professor of research in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and College of Nursing, explained why this research is important:

“Teens may be experiencing a lot of internal turmoil and difficult life stresses that we can easily overlook if we don’t probe with sensitive questioning and understanding…Reframing these feelings as outward symptoms of pre-depression by the primary care provider would allow for connection to and discussion about the importance of mental health with the teen and parent.”

Regular mood swings vs depression

Many adolescents struggle for years without anyone noticing. Looking out for symptoms and noticing them always you to intervene with therapy for teen depression more quickly. Early intervention leads to the best chances of success. There’s no perfect guidebook for parenting, so it can be difficult to read the signs of depression when teenagers are already so volatile.

Some signs of teen depression include:

  • Mood swings
  • Persistent irritability or sadness
  • Sudden fall in school performance
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns
  • Issues concentrating
  • Alcohol/substance overuse

While many of these signs may seem vague, if you notice any of them it could be a warning of a deeper issue. It could be teen depression, or it could be a host of many other mental health issues. The important thing is to not ignore it and seek out help immediately.

Elevations is here for your family

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, defiance, trauma, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral issues.

At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students. Finding the right therapy for teen depression can be difficult for a family, which is why Elevations is here to help guide you through it.

For more information about therapy for teen depression at Elevations RTC, please call .

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