It is estimated one in five teens develops depressive symptoms before adulthood, making depressive disorders some of the most common mental health issues among teens. Teens are statistically more anxious and depressed than ever, and the potential causes behind this phenomenon are varied and complex. There is no single factor to blame – but more importantly, only about a third of those diagnosed seek adolescent depression treatment. At Visions Treatment Centers, we take cases of depression very seriously. More than a cry for help, depressive behavior can quickly escalate to suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, and it’s estimated a teen takes their own life in the United States every 100 minutes.

Signs of Adolescent Depression Disorders

Depressive disorders, or mood disorders, describe a host of conditions involving severe and abnormal levels of sadness and emotional anguish, highlighted by feelings of low self-worth and pervasive negative thinking. Teens who struggle with depressive symptoms are not just sad or upset – sorrow, grief, pain, and sadness are perfectly normal emotions and a valid and necessary part of human existence.

But when these feelings take on a life of their own, without interruption, they hint at a greater problem. Some signs and symptoms pointing towards a potential depressive disorder include:

  • Loss of interest, motivation
  • Restlessness, insomnia, oversleeping
  • Overarching fatigue, cognitive decline
  • Overeating or loss of appetite
  • Aches or pains
  • Digestive issues (IBS)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Inexplicable guilt or self-loathing
  • Sadness or emptiness, with no changes in mood

Some of these feelings are common among teens who may be recovering from something emotionally traumatic. If they persist for more than two weeks, they may have a lasting impact echoing far beyond a normal grieving cycle. Moreover, depressive episodes are not always caused by something sad. They may occur out of nowhere and last a long time depending on the type of depression a teen has.

Visions’ Adolescent Depression Treatment Program

Depressive disorders vary depending on certain hallmark symptoms, but the most common depressive diagnosis is major depressive disorder (MDD). When a teen is diagnosed with MDD, a doctor will ensure a teen’s symptoms cannot be explained by another condition, from underlying physical conditions related to the endocrine system to substance abuse. Other common types of depression include persistent depressive disorder (PDD), postpartum/perinatal depression (PPD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Visions’ adolescent depression treatment program includes:

Medication

The first-line treatment for cases of depression is anti-depressive medication, usually a form of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Antidepressants are not addictive, and well-tolerated, which is why they are also often prescribed for depressive symptoms in other disorders.

Talk Therapy

A common tool in promoting long-term symptom management alongside medication is talk therapy. The most common form of talk therapy when treating depressive symptoms is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which largely aims to help patients recognize and identify negative thoughts, accept them, and try to find effective ways to cope with them or replace them with a positive thought via things like journaling, and recognizing behavioral patterns.

Experiential Therapy

At Visions, we leverage a variety of alternative therapies with clinical success in the treatment of depression by way of music, art, animal therapy, and more. We aim to help our teens go through these activities to find effective therapies and coping mechanisms. We encourage teens to carry these activities and methods into their day-to-day life outside of treatment.

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Bridging the Gap Between Adolescent Depression Treatment and Recovery

When it comes to adolescent depression treatment, a teen’s exact diagnosis and contributing factors must be considered. Like many other mental health issues, depression is affected by external as well as internal factors. Uncontrollable issues such as past traumatic experiences and genetics combine with issues such as a stressful home environment or substance use.

At Visions, we leverage psychiatric treatments, pharmacology, effective talk therapy, and alternative treatments, and coordinate with friends and family to create a more supportive environment at home and school.