It’s undeniable that raising an adolescent is challenging. But raising a depressed teen is even more difficult. Adolescent depression is a serious mental disease that can have long-term consequences.
Yes, depression can strike at any time, but it can strike especially hard for teenagers who are already dealing with peer pressure and/or parental pressure, as well as hormonal changes. As a result, many parents wonder, “How can I help a depressed teen?”
Understanding Teen Depression
Parents who are dealing with a depressed adolescent have a lot on their plates. It might be difficult for some parents to tell the difference between a sad kid and one who is just cranky.
A depressed mood is sometimes dismissed as “Oh, he’s only going through puberty!” or “Every youngster goes through teen angst at some point.”
However, it’s critical to try to comprehend the differences. Teen depression is a serious condition that should not be dismissed as a sign of weakness.
Instead, it should be viewed as something with long-term implications. Teen depression can often be treated with medication and/or talk therapy, among other approaches.
Depression can have a significant impact on your child’s personality. You may experience grief, tears, wrath, and/or despair for no apparent reason. Additionally, your teen may begin to defy your authority by speaking up when they previously did not.
Depression affects teenagers from all walks of life. In reality, one in every five teenagers suffers from mental illness. And, despite the fact that depression is treatable, the majority of children who suffer from it do not receive the assistance they require.
Teen depression can have far-reaching consequences. The more prepared you are as a parent to catch the early warning signs, the better. By addressing the symptoms promptly, you’ll be able to provide them with the necessary help.
Here are some additional signs to watch out for:
- Loss of interest in their once loved activities: If your child was active and involved in sports or other group activities and now no longer shows any interest, then this is something to pay attention to.
- Visible changes in eating or sleeping habits: If your teen is either eating too much or not enough, there’s a problem brewing. It’s the same with sleep. If you notice either too much sleeping or too little, take action.
If your teen starts regularly crying for no apparent reason, again, this needs to be addressed.
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness: A depressed teen will more than likely feel sad and hopeless. They will have an apathetic attitude If not addressed, this could lead to suicide ideation or an actual suicide attempt.
- Withdrawal from friends and family: Perhaps your teen was very social, previously participating with friends and family. Now, you notice that they are withdrawn and shying away from social activities.
What to Do When Your Teen Is Depressed
You’ve gone over the list above and are fairly certain that your teen is depressed. So, what’s next? Here are some things you can do to assist your depressed teen.
1. Talk to Your Teen
Ask as many questions as possible to learn as much as possible. “I’ve seen that your homework is suffering,” for example. “Would you like to talk about it?” or “I’m worried that you’ve been spending too much time in your room and not socializing with your friends?” Is there anything I can do to assist?”
By starting a conversation, you’ll gain valuable information that will help you put what’s been going on into context.
2. Take Your Teen to a Mental Health Professiona
If you feel your teen is depressed, you may or may not be on the right track. As I previously stated, determining your teen’s mood can be difficult at times.
That’s why a professional—a therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor—can either confirm or dispel your fears, directing you to the appropriate resources or telling you to keep an eye on things and give it some time.
Related: Tips to Help You Be a Better Parent
3. Explain Your Reasons for Concern.
You might wish to discuss your concerns with your teen, as well as the reasons for them. “I’m concerned that you could be depressed,” you might say, for example.
“This is why…” Then, make a list of the reasons. “If you are feeling depressed, I simply want you to know that there is help out there,” you can add.
Putting words to what your teen is going through will help to legitimize their feelings. It can be a huge comfort to put words to our feelings.
4. Consider Medications
The correct drug can help your teen’s depression significantly. You might also mention that depression is not anything to be embarrassed by and that it can strike anyone at any time. And with the correct assistance, everything may be put right again.
Note: While drugs can be really beneficial, you must become very knowledgeable about any potential adverse effects. The solution does not always come without a cost. You should consult with your doctor and ensure that the cost is reasonable.
There are two therapy treatments that tend to really help with teen depression (among many others): Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IT) (IPT).
IPT focuses on social connections and communication challenges, whereas CBT focuses on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
6. Lifestyle Adjustments
Making modifications to your teen’s lifestyle can go a long way toward assisting your teen with depression. As an example, make sure they’re getting enough nutrients and cut out as much junk food as possible.
Make a sleep schedule for yourself. Getting adequate sleep is important for anyone, but it can make all the difference for a depressed youngster.
If at all feasible, take your teen outside. Getting some sun and engaging in some physical activity can help you feel better. In reality, there are a variety of experiential therapies that include dancing, art, music, hiking, boxing, and other activities that can be very beneficial.
7. Reach Out to Friends and Family
Perhaps you can reach out to a trusted friend or a family member who is close to your teen. Getting them involved could be a great step forward. Their presence may help them feel less alone by providing a sense of normalcy.
You must be involved in your teen’s process as a parent. Once it’s been established that your adolescent is depressed, your continued engagement will keep things moving forward and on track to get them the care they need.
Become an advocate for your child!
8. Group Therapy
Having a secure and controlled environment in which to discuss difficulties with peers—led by a qualified and caring professional—provides a chance to gain insight into their condition as well as to learn and implement new life skills.
It’s extremely beneficial to have peer support from people who are going through similar experiences. It takes away the feeling of isolation and the belief that they are the only ones who are suffering.
Despite its severity, depression is easily curable. The tips above can help you spot depression in your kid sooner rather than later, giving him or her the best chance of recovery.
Maintain an active role in your child’s life. Make sure to follow through on whatever course of action you choose. This is your best chance to get your teen the finest results possible.
It’s not easy to know how to treat a depressed adolescent. It’s a task that takes a lot of patience. Every small step in the right direction should be appreciated, and any setback should be viewed as just that—a setback. Failure should not be confused with setbacks.
You may be exhausted as a parent of a depressed adolescent. Giving your teen the aid they require takes a lot of energy, which is why self-care is so vital.
How will you be able to help your teen if you are exhausted? Frustration, despair, rejection, exhaustion, and other negative emotions can feel devastating. Take things in stride, though. Nothing lasts indefinitely.
You and your adolescent can get through this trying time. The tools are available at all times. Make use of them!
Also, don’t forget to keep the love flowing. That can help a person’s soul heal