In Suzi's Words

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When Depression Turns A Happy Teen Into A Suicidal Teenager

depression-in-teens

 

Parents may wonder what their teenagers could possibly be depressed about. After all, they have a good life; a nice home, lots of friends, and all the latest fashions to wear. Yet they are irritable, sad, their grades are going down, they have lost interest in their lives, they are isolating themselves, and this has been going on for weeks. Be warned not ignore these symptoms of depression as they may also be signs of a suicidal teenager.

 

Why Teens Become Depressed

 

Understanding why teens become depressed will help to recognize when to seek professional help. The reasons for depression in teens are many and vary from person to person.

 

  • Kids at school can be mean and technology has taken that cruelty to a whole new level
  • Pressure to get good grades or do well in sports
  • Changing hormones
  • Friendships or relationships ending
  • Striving to fit in or be popular
  • Parental or sibling relationships
  • False views of their body image produced by the media

 

Signs of depression in teens that last more than a few weeks are not something to dismiss or ignore. Depression is serious business. It can lead to substance abuse, eating disorders, and even suicide. The good news is depression is treatable.

 

 

How to Help Teens in Distress

 

Suicidal teenagers are becoming more commonplace in today’s society. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. It is critical then, to first determine if suicidal behaviors have developed. If so, seek immediate help by calling 9-1-1 or taking them to the nearest hospital. If suicidal thoughts are present but have not been acted upon, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to talk with a trained counselor for direction.

 

Watch for these warning signs of suicide brought on by teenage depression and act upon them immediately.

 

  • Expressions of hopelessness for the future
  • Believing no one cares about them
  • Abusing drugs and/or alcohol
  • Talking about suicide as an escape from their troubles
  • Acting as if they will be dying soon; giving away possessions, making a will

 

Before the depression has a chance to escalate, make an appointment with the family doctor. He will ensure the symptoms are not caused by another medical condition and can provide a referral to a mental health professional specializing in teenage depression and suicidal teenagers.

 

Treatment Methodologies

 

Most often depression in teens is treated through psychotherapy (counseling) and possibly medication, which must be prescribed by a medical professional after diagnosis. Family therapy may also come into play depending on the origins of the depression. If the depression is severe, psychiatric hospitalization may be required.

 

Residential or Intensive Outpatient programs at a recognized rehabilitation center may also be helpful if the teenager has turned to drugs and/or alcohol or has acquired an eating disorder to help soothe the depression or escape from the root causes of it.

 

The National Institute of Mental Health recently funded a review of the three most common approaches to treating teenagers with various levels of depression. One group was treated with antidepressants alone. Another only with cognitive behavioral therapy. The third was treated with a combination of medication and therapy. At the conclusion of the 12-week study, nearly three out of every four teens who received the combination of medication and therapy significantly improved confirming that combining therapies is nearly twice as effective in treating teenage depression. Keep in mind, the use of antidepressants for a suicidal teenager or depression does carry some risk and should only be taken under the care of a medical professional who will closely monitor the drug use and its effects.

 

Teenage depression is treatable. The key to a happy ending is not ignoring the tell-tale signs and responding quickly to them.

 

Citations:  Above the Influence

Published August 2013

Client: Evaero

 

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