Stats about teen depression are alarming. Almost 20 percent of teens, ie, one in five, suffers from clinical depression. Its impact goes beyond them, as it affects their families also.
“It’s going to look like an epidemic because it is,” said Dr. Gary Nelson, a counselor and ordained minister.
Such alarming numbers call for drastic action. According to Australian Psychological Society, depression is a common and serious illness that negatively affects how you feel, think and act.
Depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and can be very debilitating. Most drug treatments for depression try to rebalance these imbalances as in many cases of depression there is a reduction in the number of neurotransmitters found in the brain such as serotonin and norepinephrine in depressed people.
Teens can show different symptoms of their depression such as being angry, moody, sadness, agitation and so on, somewhat different than the normal symptoms of depression.
All teens usually go through growth pangs in their development years, but for those suffering from depression, the symptoms are more intense and the parents should be on a watch for these symptoms.
Once a parent notices these symptoms of depression, they should immediately approach their Family Doctor (aka, General Practitioners or GPs) who can assist them with a treatment pathway, including referrals to Professional Psychologists.
Clinical Psychologists can use evidence-based psychometric instruments to diagnose whether the teen is suffering from clinical depression and create an appropriate therapeutic treatment plan. It is parents duty to maintain a good relationship with their child and ensure that their cries for help are not taken lightly.
Psychotherapeutic treatments for depression include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, IPT and other psychotherapies as depicted in the infographic below.
Dr Nelson emphasises that “Don’t see everything as a discipline problem” and “Try to understand that something might wrong in your teen that could be preventing them from accomplishing what they want.”
In summary, depression is a multi-faceted mental health problem and we all need to put hard efforts for
Working in unity with our teens to help them overcome this illness