Supporting Teenagers with Depression

Depression is common among adolescents. The condition is often categorized according to its levels of severity and a lot of people experience mild to moderate depression sometime in their teenage years. Mild to moderate depression can be displayed in a few visible changes in the demeanor and even in the appearance of the affected person.

Emotional symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Doesn’t want to go out and socialize
  • Poor grooming
  • Negativity
  • Overall feeling of sadness
  • Thoughts & comments about suicide are common in persons with deep or clinical depression.

Physical symptoms:

  • Tired all the time
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Poor diet or low appetite
  • Headaches
  • Aches and pains

The best way to deal with teenagers with this condition is with concern, love and understanding. Some teenagers do not understand what they are going through themselves. Telling them about the condition will help identify the condition and makes the process of treating it easier. Some people react to depression differently if they are not familiar with the condition. It is important to let others know that criticism, yelling and telling the depressed person to stop being lazy or to ‘snap out of it’ is not a good way to deal with depressed individuals of any age.

For mild depression, monitoring is still a must because these forms of depression can escalate to severe depression.

Helping the teen have a normal semblance of a life when they are depressed is important as well. For one, teens with depression can be taught several exercises that can help them cope better with depression:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Developing a new hobby
  • Regular exercises

These are all effective ways to deal with the negative elements of depression. Exercise has been shown to be a good way to fight off mild to moderate depression in teens because it triggers the release of endorphins or the body’s ‘happy’ hormones.

When is it time to get help?

Getting help for depression for youth (or adults) can be especially challenging because one of the symptoms is an inability to take action. If your child describes themselves as feeling down or numb, having thoughts of hopelessness and despair, avoiding loved ones and friends on a regular basis, it can be time to seek help. If they are having thoughts of suicide or repeated thoughts of death and dying – we can help.

If you, or someone you know is considering suicide, for immediate help outside of our office hours, throughout Alberta, please call 211 or one of the following distress lines:

Edmonton:  The Crisis Centre call 780 482 HELP (4357)
Greater Edmonton region: Rural Distress Line at 1-800-232-7288.
Calgary: 403 266 HELP (4357)

Depression treatment methods

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most recommended form of counselling for depression. CBT is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, emotions and beliefs influence your behaviour. These sessions will help you understand which behaviors and thoughts are unhealthy, and ways to realistically remedy these issues. The sessions also help you cope with the symptoms, allowing you to gain a more positive perspective on life. This change also relieves the depression symptoms, particularly feelings of anger, worthlessness, and sadness.
  • Psychotherapy is a broad term that encompasses numerous styles of therapy and employs verbal or nonverbal communication with a client to help treat psychiatric problems, behavioral issues, personality disorders, and various other types of emotional distress. This form of personal counselling is based on an interpersonal relationship, as opposed to the alternative chemical or physical forms of therapy. As the therapist creates dialogue, you are able to learn more about your moods, behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Understanding these factors helps you to control your life and handle certain situations healthily.
  • Mindfulness Therapy combines cognitive behaviour therapy with meditation techniques. It was originally used to treat depression, it has shown to be effective in the treatment of other conditions as well. Clients use mindfulness techniques to interrupt thoughts and automatic body processes (sleep disturbances, for example). This type of therapy helps clients to see that their thoughts can become their reality and they are taught how to disengage from negative thoughts and thought patterns.

What will teens get out of depression treatment with Insight Psychological?

Depression can be treated with psychotherapy and often with the support of medical prescriptions. Untreated, this common condition can be very debilitating. If you have experienced any of the symptoms of depression, it is advisable to set up an appointment with a psychologist as soon as possible. It is difficult to handle these problems on your own; professional help may be necessary for you to get better and deal with your condition, but when you get that support, you may find that life is more manageable, you’ll have tools to cope with challenges, and you may find that overall, you’re back to your old self – or maybe even better than before you experienced depression.