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What to Do When Your Teen Is Depressed

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Being a parent is hard, and being the parent of a teenager can feel even more challenging. Parenthood doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and it’s hard to know where to get answers. Teenagers are known for their mood swings and time spent brooding.  How do you know when it crosses the line between age-appropriate behavior and depression? And even if you realize that your teen is depressed, how do you know what to do next? At Thrive Treatment, we can help you understand the signs of depression and how to get treatment for your teen.

Signs Your Teenager Is Depressed

Depression is a mental illness that can interfere with your teen’s ability to handle their daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or managing their school work.  While it’s often oversimplified as sadness, depression manifests itself in many ways.  Signs of depression can include the following:

  • Continually feeling sad, anxious, or even empty
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Feeling like everything is going wrong
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Is your teen, who is usually a straight-A student, suddenly failing all of his or her classes? Maybe your teen has always played an instrument or a sport and no longer wants to participate. Additionally, you may notice changes in eating habits, sleeping habits, or complaints of not feeling well. Overall, you know your teen best. If something is wrong you are probably sensing it.

Depression can manifest itself in many different ways, and you’ll want to look for patterns.  A teenager who no longer wants to play the clarinet may just be ‘rebelling’ or is no longer interested in the instrument. However, you will want to be more concerned if that teenager also has stopped hanging out with friends, has declining grades, reports being sick many days each week, and is locked in their room all of the time. 

The Best Things to Do When Your Teen Is Depressed

If your teen is depressed, the most vital step is determining if they are having suicidal thoughts.  If your teen is having suicidal thoughts, you must seek help immediately. Do not leave him or her alone. Beyond that, it is essential to understand that depression is unintentional; your teen can not merely stop being depressed because they are told to do so. They also can’t stop being depressed because they want to stop. Support your teen by being patient and encouraging, even if you don’t understand their depression. Help them to see that, although it may take time and patience, treatment will help. Taking them for treatment and participating as needed can support your teen in a compelling way. Encourage them to participate in their treatment fully and to be honest if they are especially low. Teenagers can feel that everything is a punishment, but try to help them understand that treatment is not. Getting help is essential, both for you and for them. Just as you would need more information to help your child face a medical diagnosis, so will you need assistance in assisting them in meeting a mental health diagnosis. 

How Thrive Treatment Can Help Your Teen

At Thrive Treatment, our treatment approach blends modern and traditional practices. We can help your teeen by integrating relational and behavioral therapies and holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions. Researchers have confirmed that earlier treatment of mental health disorders leads to more positive outcomes. 

Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we will develop an individualized plan to help your teen through their depression, both during inpatient treatment and beyond. We’re also here to support you in understanding the treatment and your role in the process as you support your teen. Contact us today and let us help you and your teen face depression and any other mental health issues.  

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