Are you wondering if your teenager’s mood swings are a result of something serious, possibly indicative of teen depression?
Is your teen highly reactive and difficult to calm down or, alternatively, unusually quiet, sad and withdrawn?
Has your teen been struggling at school, making poor decisions or no longer engaging in activities that he or she once enjoyed?
Do you wish that you knew how to take your teen’s pain away and help him or her recognize the positive aspects of life?
As a parent, it is difficult to watch your teenager experience depression and emotional pain. It is hard to understand how a once upbeat and optimistic child has become a withdrawn or despondent teenager. As a parent, it’s normal to feel frustrated or saddened by these changes. It can be hard to know how to help your teen feel better, especially when the cause of his or her distress is not apparent and/or he or she refuses to confide in you.
Is it teenage angst or depression?
The teen years are challenging. On top of awkward, uncomfortable physical changes, adolescents must navigate more complex peer relationships and manage increasingly demanding schoolwork – all while striving to become more independent. When stressed, even highly functioning and well-adjusted teens can become depressed, irritable or withdrawn. If it seems, however, that your teen has difficulty bouncing back after setbacks or frequently feels miserable, he or she may be experiencing depression. No one knows your child better than you do, so if you’re concerned that a problem may exist, there’s a good chance that you’re correct.
Teen depression treatment can provide your child with insight, skills and relief.
At Cartersville Counseling & Therapy, we can provide your teen with a supportive place to explore the confusing and sometimes painful emotions that accompany adolescence. In therapy, your teen can work through feelings of sadness, self esteem issues, social challenges and relationship struggles. Your therapist can help your teen learn to manage his or her emotions by gaining cognitive and behavioral strategies to cope with disappointments, conflict and stress. Your therapist can also equip your teen with the tools he or she needs to be more self aware, and therefore in better control, of his or her thoughts and emotions so that your teen can lead a more empowered, positive life.
We can also help you, as a parent, better understand your teen in the context of the overall teenage experience, and offer you advice about how to connect with your teen. While the conversations your teen has with his or her therapist will be confidential (with exceptions, such as self-harm behavior), you will be kept aware of how your teen is progressing.Family therapy may also be recommended, especially if there are ongoing and unresolved conflicts between you and your child.
While you may be feeling deeply confused and even helpless or hopeless right now, it is possible for your teen to get the help and support he or she needs to overcome teen depression, and begin feeling and functioning well again. Therapy is a wonderful place for teenagers to learn healthy coping strategies, develop problem-solving skills and identify their strengths. Not only can therapy help your teen regain a sense of hope and happiness, but he or she can also develop coping skills that will be valuable and applicable throughout his or her life.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
I’m afraid that if my teen is diagnosed with clinical depression, medication will be necessary.
Medication is rarely the first approach to treating teen depression, and many teenagers have successfully overcome depression through counseling alone. However, if your teen and his or her therapist have exhausted supportive and cognitive behavioral counseling approaches without seeing adequate improvement or your teen is severely depressed, medication may be a beneficial option. Medication may relieve your teen’s symptoms enough to prevent your child from falling behind in school and to more actively participate in counseling sessions. For many teenagers, medication is only a temporary adjunct to treatment. Once personal difficulties are addressed and a foundation for emotional and academic success is built, medication can be discontinued.
I think that my teen desperately needs help, however, he or she refuses to try therapy.
Many teenagers with depression recoil at the idea of therapy. They may believe that they are beyond help, feel uncomfortable telling their problems to a stranger, or lack the energy or willingness to try something new. You may be able to get your teen to come around to the idea by honestly and gently expressing your concerns. Explain to your teen that, ultimately, therapy is nonnegotiable, but you’d like to give them the opportunity to choose his or her therapist. Often, an initial meeting with the right therapist will soften your teen’s resistance to therapy and help him or her see the therapist as an ally, not a threat.