Adolescent Depression Treatment Program
Is It Depression or Sadness?
A record number of teens are depressed. Does that reveal a modern mental health crisis, or does it give credit to the improvements made in identifying and treating conditions like depression? Does technology play a greater role? Or are teens today overwhelmed by greater societal pressures than previous years?
While academics are still puzzling over the right answer to that question, it’s clear that depression is becoming an increasingly common problem for today’s generation, and most teens are not equipped with the tools to help avoid or confront symptoms of depression when they occur.
Alongside anxiety disorders, depressive disorders are some of the most common mental health problems in the world. Millions of teens are diagnosed with major depressive disorder in the United States alone, and many cases of depression go undiagnosed. While much has been done to improve public awareness and understanding of depression and how it affects people, the stigma behind mental health issues persists, and many teens resist talking about their feelings to avoid bullying.
It's often up to a teen’s friends and parents to get them the help they need and convince them that it’s time to seek treatment. But that involves understanding what adolescent depression is, and how it differs from similar conditions, and normal teenage behavior.
Is My Teen Depressed?
At the Arrow House, we encourage a professional and thorough approach. Every client goes through an assessment process with a medical professional, and it can take time for a proper diagnosis to crystallize. The last thing you want to do when addressing a person’s mental health issues is to jump to conclusions.
While depression is a common condition, it comes in many shapes and forms, and each one can have its own distinct treatment plan. There are also co-occurring disorders that complicate diagnosis and treatment alike, which is why we emphasize patience.
Recognizing depression is not always an easy or straightforward task. A professional diagnosis may require multiple one-on-one meetings and may change as symptoms develop or other behaviors and recurring thoughts crystalize. What might appear to be bipolar disorder could be a case of ADHD instead, and with depressive symptoms, conditions like major depressive disorder could be something else entirely, like PMDD.
It's important to listen to your teen when they’re talking about their feelings and keep an eye out for certain keywords and trends that might point towards depressive symptoms, rather than normal signs of sadness. Some important things to keep in mind include:
- Depression is often long-term.Depressive episodes might dip in and out of a teen’s life, but there’s always a danger of recurring depressive symptoms in the future. Some forms of depression are chronic, meaning they can last for years.
- Depression often has no clear cause. If your teen is sad for no apparent reason – and even they can’t explain or understand why they feel so bad – then they may be depressed. Depressive symptoms can develop out of nowhere.
- Depression has many physical signs. While depression is a mental health issue, it can have many effects on the body, including chronic fatigue, decreased pain thresholds, and random aches.
- Depression is often coupled with other conditions. Depression is rarely alone, and can have many debilitating bedfellows, including anxiety symptoms, panic attacks, and substance use problems. These can complicate diagnosis and
- Depression often can’t be blamed on one or two things alone. While we always seek something simple to blame, there’s often a confluence of factors that go into making someone depressed, including environmental factors (bullying, social media, diet, family life) and internal factors (family history, physical illnesses, personality).
- Depression can come and go. While symptoms of depression can wane and even disappear on their own, they often come back. It’s important to help your teen prepare themselves and learn how to deal with depression, and support them in long-term treatment.
A professional diagnosis can give you and your teen the peace of knowing what your teen is struggling with, and what to potentially expect in the months and years to come.
Treatment plans are also centered around a client’s circumstances and individual factors, rather than textbook definitions and cookie-cutter programming. This means that a thorough psychological assessment can help us at the Arrow House formulate a treatment plan that best applies to your teen and their distinct needs.
Can Adolescent Depression Be Cured?
Depression is treatable, but treatable and curable are two separate things. A person with depression is often at risk of continuing symptoms and recurring episodes, more so than the average person. In other words, if you have been depressed in the past, you are likely to experience depression again in the future.
But having the knowledge, the means, and the support needed to deter negative thoughts and address depressive symptoms can reduce the impact of a recurring depressive episode and make it less severe than past experiences.
In other words, depression might not necessarily be something you can “cure” forever, but you can get better and better at dealing with it and eliminate the debilitating effects a depressive disorder might have on your life. Key is realizing that you are never alone, and that it is always a good idea to get help, no matter what.
Can Adolescent Depression Be Cured?
Our treatment plans at the Arrow House involve a family-centered, long-term approach to depression, helping teens separate their symptoms from other, healthier thoughts, while encouraging skills and habits that help manage stress and develop strong support systems to continue to deal with depressive symptoms in the years to come.
At the Arrow House, we want our teens to have every advantage possible in dealing with their mental and physical health, and we believe that our programs can create an important foundation for a lifetime of mental wellness.