Teenage Depression: Is it just a phase in growth?

We all remember when we were teenagers. Boy, what a phase in our lives.What with the need for peer acceptance, parental expectations, raging hormones, acne…

It’s no wonder teenage depression exists in such high numbers.

From research and even mere observation, teenage depression actually manifests itself differently from adult or childhood depression as during this age, teens want to start to mark their territorial signs of independence and the last thing a teen may want to do is admit they need help for depression. Teenagers tend not to display gloom, self-depreciation, or talk about feeling hopeless like adults do during this stage of their lives if they are depressed, so as a parent or adult role-model you may need to watch for other signs of depression in the teenager you are dealing with.

Teenage Depression: Symptoms to watch out for. Though the signs of teenage depression may vary in both sexes, here are some symptoms that are common to both male and female teens battling with depression.

  • Excessive negativity and antisocial behaviors.
  • Wanting to leave home or retreat to their rooms constantly.
  • Inattention to personal appearance.
  • A lack of desire to co-operate in family get-togethers and activities.

Signs of Teenage Depression in Males:

  • Increasing in aggression and agitation.
  • A higher tendency to get in trouble with school or the law.
  • Reckless behavior such as uncontrolled use of illegal substances.

Signs of Teenage Depression in Females:

  • Less attention to their appearance.
  • Pre-occupation with death and themes of suicide.
  • Excessive promiscuity or an extreme isolation from members of their opposite sex.

Although this is not a conclusive list of the signs of teenage depression one should look out for in teens, the ones listed above are the most common ones. In addition to these depression symptoms in regards to teenager, other ones may include a lower self-esteem than average, referrals to suicide (in extreme cases) and a general negative outlook on life.

It indeed may be challenging to cope with as an adult to deal with a depressed teenager as it’s a catch 22 situation, they want to be independent as teens, yet they need your help. Well, this may be a good time to simply take charge, albeit with care and caution as we are dealing with delicate and sensitive emotions here and reach out to help.

Teenage Depression: Solutions for coping with depression in your teen

  • If necessary, seek professional help. I lean more towards drug-free alternatives so meetings with competent Pastors, guidance counselors, teachers and therapists may suffice to at least get a diagnosis…if you need one.
  • Talk to your teen’s friends and or their parents, although this approach requires care, remember, they are starting to declare independence and ‘snooping’ around on them may be defeating the purpose of reaching them, so do this with care and tact.
  • Suggest one-on-one outings with phrases like: “hey, how about a game of basketball, just you and I..?’ or “Hey how about us girls take a trip to the Mall?” If they refuse, don’t appear too crushed; simply respond with an understanding “okay maybe some other time…”
  • Ask if there is anything they’d like to discuss and this will be a great time to be more of the listener and less of the talker as soon as they start to open up.
  • Don’t be what you’ve not always been to your teen, in other words being overly nice or “Bill Cosby-ish” (no pun intended Mr. Cosby) , trust me, they’ll see right through the act and may withdraw even more.
  • Watch for signs of suicide (in extreme cases) and if there is the slightest indication, double up your efforts to reach your teen. It helps if you’ve been close as parent and child from the beginning.
  • In the hopes things are not as extreme, soon as they manifest signs of reaching out, help, be there. Incorporate such limbs of a natural treatment for depression as exercise, proper diet and positive thoughts and affirmations.
  • Set a good example of being upbeat around your teen as much as possible. This can also be more of preventive measure if any.
  • Prayer. If you are spiritual, pray and it doesn’t hurt and can help immensely to ask your depressed teen to join. “Where two or more are gathered in My name, there will I be.” Keep that promise from Above in mind-it works.

Teenage depression may wear a different mask from all other types, but it is essentially the same and with the proper steps taken can be overcome. Do not panic, however, be strong and there for your teen and in applying the steps above with other suggestions or creative ideas you deem right as an adult dealing with a depressed teen, you will be able to steer him or her back to a positive outlook on life.

Top Boarding Schools

You have questions... We have answers
  • Q: I read on the website that these schools offer family therapy, but how does that happen when the school is so far away?

    You will participate in the family therapy by phone, and when you come for your family visits, you will then do face to face family therapy.

  • Q: Why are most of these programs in Utah?

    The original Residential Treatment Center was opened in Utah, and they have been improving their system ever since. There is an entire state agency devoted to overseeing and regulating these programs. The other reason is that in Utah, the legal age is 18, so you can force your child to get treatment until they are 18. Legal age varies by state but there are an increasingly high number of states where the legal age is 17 even if you are still financially and physically responsible for them until they are 18.

    As long as your child is under the age of 18 and you have custody of your child, then your child does not have to go willingly. You can force them to go against their will for their benefit.

  • Q: If my child won't go willingly, how do I get them there?

    There are teen transport companies we contract with that are highly trained and they will come to your home and pick up your child. There job is to escort your child there safely! This takes away the worry and the fighting. There is an additional fee for this service.

  • Q: Does insurance cover the cost of treatment or boarding?

    Insurance plans vary so much that there is not a solid answer. You can find out what your coverage is by calling them directly and asking about your in-patient mental health benefits. In order for coverage, it has to be medically necessary, based on diagnosis and most insurance companies require a pre-authorization.