Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A New Tool for Teen Depression


A recent article by Scientific American discussed the story about a guy named Frank who suffered with depression, and his journey to recovery. The article highlights on the multiple forms of therapy Frank attempted to elevate his issues with depression. While on antidepressants, Frank’s mood, sleep and other symptoms had improved, but he was still barely functioning in his life. It wasn’t until he tried cognitive-behavioral therapy that Franks life suddenly started to improve. Therapists now believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy may be a new tool to benefit those suffering with teen depression.

What is CBT?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), focuses primarily on changing behaviors rather than thoughts. Therapists ask patients to track their daily activities and encourage them to spend more time each day doing things they enjoy.

The theory behind CBT for teen depression, is that the disorder stems from decreased exposure to environmental rewards and that patients’ negative thoughts and avoidance worsen in the absence of satisfying activities. This ultimately keeps them trapped in a cycle of misery and dysfunction associated with teen depression.

Studies on the Effects of CBT

A randomized, controlled study conducted in 2006, evaluated 241 depressed patients. It found that the patients who used CBT, had as effective of results as those found from antidepressant medication—plus patients were more likely to stick with therapy—and they found it was more effective than cognitive therapy, with a 56 percent success rate versus the 36 percent rate for those with severe symptoms of teen depression.

The difficulty with CBT, is working closely with patients to get them to identify rewarding pursuits and then to change daily behavior on a gradual basis, building on small improvements to make more meaningful changes. A common though among those suffering from teen depression, is that they need to feel better before they can make changes in their life. CBT works at teaching individuals that making changes now, will likely make them feel better.

Elevations RTC can help

Elevations RTC is a leading residential treatment center for teens, ages 13 to 18, grappling with anxiety, depression, substance use, and other emotional or behavioral issues. As a residential treatment center for teens, we try to go above and beyond other RTC’s by having not only one on-site psychiatrist, but two practitioners who see each student weekly. We also have an academic component that uses an accredited curriculum and licensed/credentialed teachers. With all of this, we strive to give each student the most efficient and beneficial experience possible.

For more information about Elevations RTC, please call today!

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