The teenage years are like no other time in a person’s life. They are full of change, growth, new experiences, and powerful emotions. For some young people, it also means developing depression and needing professional help. It can be difficult for any parent to know when their child has crossed the line from the moody behaviors typical of their age range into having a mental health disorder. As a result, many moms and dads end up asking themselves, “Is my teen depressed”? New View Wellness in Atlanta can help you understand if your teenager needs treatment and provide the proper therapy and medication to turn their lives around.
What is Depression?
Depression is a diagnosable mental health disorder that can strike people of any age. Depression causes a person to feel sad, hopeless, and lost for long periods of time. They are unable to manage their moods or “snap out” of them. Depression drastically alters a person’s ability to feel joy or get excited about current activities or future events. It can cause them to have trouble in school, on the job, and in personal relationships. When left untreated, depression can cause physical symptoms, such as headaches body aches, and digestive difficulties. A parent who wonders, “Is my teen depressed?” should take this concern seriously and get their child evaluated so they do not suffer needlessly.
What Special Issues Do Teenagers Face?
Being a teenager is a unique time in life. Teens are caught between being children and becoming adults. Much of what they do is trial and error in the pursuit of testing their boundaries and finding out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Adolescents often rebel in one form or another against their parents and other authority figures.
The teenage years can be fondly remembered by older generations as a carefree time in life, but it actually has many stressful challenges. Teens have to deal with many of the following difficult situations and feelings:
- Doing well in school
- Preparing for college or work after graduating
- Choosing a career
- Excelling in sports
- Finding hobbies and pastimes they enjoy
- Sibling rivalry
- Entering the dating field
- Going through puberty
- Peer pressure
- Temptation to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
- Divorce and other difficulties in relationships in the family
Is My Teen Depressed?
Teenagers are often secretive by nature. They want to form their own identities and do not share everything with their parents, caretakers, and other adults. This can make it hard to know what’s going on in the daily lives of teens who enjoy good mental health. Those with a concern about, “Is my teen depressed?” may find it even more difficult to determine if a problem exists that needs treatment.
There are definite signs that a teenager is struggling with depression that a parent can look for. These include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and sorrow that persist for days and weeks at a time
- Mood swings and occasional angry outbursts
- The inability to move past a specific sad event, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce in the family
- A change in appetite such as not eating enough, binge eating, or overeating
- Weight gain or loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping too much
- Unexplained medical symptoms such as headaches, body aches, nausea, and diarrhea
- Using alcohol or drugs (often to help ease the symptoms of depression)
- Losing interest in favorite hobbies or pastimes
- Isolating from family and friends
- Grades and schoolwork suffer
- Trouble doing well at a job
- Expressing suicidal feelings
If a parent suspects their child may be depressed, they should have them fully evaluated by their physician or a mental health counselor. If the child does have depression, the parents can find out the best treatment options available.
How is Depression Treated?
Mental health disorders, including depression, can be treated on two different levels. The first is residential care, which requires the teen to live temporarily in a facility while receiving treatment. This works well for severe cases of depression. For other young people, adolescent Partial Hospitalization Programs along with Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Programs can fit the bill. They still live at home and go to a facility for therapy sessions during the day. How many sessions they require depends on the length and severity of their illness and how quickly they respond to treatment.
Treatment for teen depression includes attending a variety of types of therapy that help minimize the symptoms and teach young people to use healthy coping skills to improve their moods. Access to prescription medications will also be included.
Find Treatment for Teenage Depression in Atlanta
Do you suspect your child has more going on than just the teenage blues and want to find out for sure? If you have wondered, “Is my teen depressed?”, it may be time to have them evaluated by a mental health professional. New View Wellness in Atlanta created a program that specifically targets the needs of adolescents who deal with mental illness. Our outpatient programs allow your child to remain living in their home while receiving the vital, structured care they need during therapy sessions at our facility.
Visit our admissions page now to find out more about how we can help your teenager rediscover how to be happy and plan for a bright future. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you have.