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Managing your depression - teens

Recognizing depression in your teen; Helping your teen with depression

 

Depression is a serious medical condition that you need help with until you feel better. Know that you are not alone. 1 in 5 teenagers will be depressed at some point. Luckily, there are ways to get treatment. Learn about treatment for depression and what you can do to help yourself get better.

Take Part in Talk Therapy

 

Talk therapy can help you feel better. Talk therapy is just that. You talk with a therapist or a counselor about how you are feeling and what you are thinking about.

You usually see a therapist once a week. The more open you are with your therapist about your thoughts and feelings, the more helpful the therapy can be.

 

Taking Medicine for Depression

 

Be involved with this decision if you can. Learn from your doctor if depression medicine might help you feel better. Talk about it with your doctor and parents.

If you take medicine for depression, know that:

  • It can take a few weeks to feel better after you start taking the medicine.
  • Antidepressant medicine works best if you take it every day.
  • You may need to take the medicine for at least 6 to 12 months to get the best effect and to lower the risk of depression coming back.
  • You need to talk to your doctor about how the medicine makes you feel. If it is not working enough, or if it is causing any side effects, your doctor may need to change the dose or the medicine you are taking.
  • You should not stop taking your medicine on your own. If the medicine does not make you feel good, talk to your doctor. Your doctor has to help you stop the medicine slowly. Stopping it suddenly could make you feel worse.

 

Stay in Touch with Your Depression Symptoms

 

If you are thinking about death or suicide:

  • Talk to a friend, family member, or your doctor right away.
  • You can always get immediate help by going to the nearest emergency room or calling 1-800-SUICIDE, or 1-800-999-9999. The hotline is open 24/7.

Talk with your parents or your doctor if you feel your depression symptoms are getting worse. You may need a change in your treatment.

 

Avoid Risky Behaviors

 

Risky behaviors are behaviors that can hurt you. They include:

  • Unsafe sex
  • Drinking
  • Doing drugs
  • Driving dangerously
  • Skipping school

If you take part in risky behaviors, know that they can make your depression worse. Take control of your behavior rather than letting it control you.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can make your depression worse.

Spend time with friends who are positive and can support you.

 

When to Call the Doctor

 

Talk to your parents and call your doctor if you are:

  • Thinking about death or suicide
  • Feeling worse
  • Thinking about stopping your medicine

 

 

References

American Psychiatric Association. Major depressive disorder. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013;160-168.

Bostic JQ, Prince JB, Buxton DC. Child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. In: Stern TA, Fava M, Wilens TE, Rosenbaum JF, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 69.

National Institute of Mental Health. Antidepressant medications for children and adolescents: information for parents and caregivers. NIMH.NIH.gov Web site. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health/antidepressant-medications-for-children-and-adolescents-information-for-parents-and-caregivers.shtml. Accessed December 15, 2016.

Siu AL; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for depression in children and adolescents: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(5):360-366. PMID: 26858097 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26858097.

 
  • Adolescent depression

    Animation

  •  

    Adolescent depression - Animation

    Teenagers are typically moody. They can go from upbeat to moping in a matter of seconds. It's normal for teens to feel sad from time to time, but when that sadness sticks around day after day, it could be depression. Let's talk about adolescent depression. Teens have a lot of pressures in their lives that can lead to depression. They're growing physically, and dealing with a new surge of hormones. They're fighting for more independence from their parents while trying to figure out their place in the world. Some kids are bullied at school or abused at home. Others are faced with major life changes, like their parents' divorce or the loss of a loved one. Kids who are very critical of themselves or who have low self-esteem are more likely to get depressed. Those with learning disorders, ADHD, or anxiety are also more prone to depression. So, how do you know that your teen is depressed? Look for signs like: irritability, fatigue, trouble eating, sleeping, or concentrating, teens who are depressed may start using drugs or alcohol, their attitude changes... once good kids may start misbehaving, missing curfews and acting up to their parents and teachers. Also, their grades may drop and they may spend more time alone in their room. If these symptoms go on for at least two weeks, have your teen seen by a doctor. When left untreated, depression can increase the risk for suicide. Start with a visit to your family doctor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. The doctor will tailor treatment to your teen. Often treatment includes medicine, usually a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. Examples are Prozac and Lexapro. Adolescents who are on these drugs need to be watched very carefully for side effects, like nervousness, irritability, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Most teens with depression feel better if they talk to someone. Meeting with a therapist can help them identify the negative thoughts that are causing their depression, and turn those thoughts around. Teens may meet with a therapist alone, with their family, or as part of a support group. Depression can affect every aspect of your teen's life, from school to relationships. Teens who are depressed are more likely to start using drugs or alcohol. Antidepressants and talk therapy can be very good at relieving depression. So if you suspect your teen is depressed, talk about it, and ask for help from a doctor or therapist you trust. Most important, call for help right away if you're afraid your teen might be thinking about suicide. Signs include giving away possessions, talking about hurting themselves, and pulling away from family and friends. Any suicidal thoughts need immediate medical attention.

  • Adolescent depression

    Animation

  •  

    Adolescent depression - Animation

    Teenagers are typically moody. They can go from upbeat to moping in a matter of seconds. It's normal for teens to feel sad from time to time, but when that sadness sticks around day after day, it could be depression. Let's talk about adolescent depression. Teens have a lot of pressures in their lives that can lead to depression. They're growing physically, and dealing with a new surge of hormones. They're fighting for more independence from their parents while trying to figure out their place in the world. Some kids are bullied at school or abused at home. Others are faced with major life changes, like their parents' divorce or the loss of a loved one. Kids who are very critical of themselves or who have low self-esteem are more likely to get depressed. Those with learning disorders, ADHD, or anxiety are also more prone to depression. So, how do you know that your teen is depressed? Look for signs like: irritability, fatigue, trouble eating, sleeping, or concentrating, teens who are depressed may start using drugs or alcohol, their attitude changes... once good kids may start misbehaving, missing curfews and acting up to their parents and teachers. Also, their grades may drop and they may spend more time alone in their room. If these symptoms go on for at least two weeks, have your teen seen by a doctor. When left untreated, depression can increase the risk for suicide. Start with a visit to your family doctor, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist. The doctor will tailor treatment to your teen. Often treatment includes medicine, usually a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. Examples are Prozac and Lexapro. Adolescents who are on these drugs need to be watched very carefully for side effects, like nervousness, irritability, and suicidal thoughts or actions. Most teens with depression feel better if they talk to someone. Meeting with a therapist can help them identify the negative thoughts that are causing their depression, and turn those thoughts around. Teens may meet with a therapist alone, with their family, or as part of a support group. Depression can affect every aspect of your teen's life, from school to relationships. Teens who are depressed are more likely to start using drugs or alcohol. Antidepressants and talk therapy can be very good at relieving depression. So if you suspect your teen is depressed, talk about it, and ask for help from a doctor or therapist you trust. Most important, call for help right away if you're afraid your teen might be thinking about suicide. Signs include giving away possessions, talking about hurting themselves, and pulling away from family and friends. Any suicidal thoughts need immediate medical attention.

    A Closer Look

     

      Self Care

       

       

      Review Date: 11/18/2016

      Reviewed By: Fred K. Berger, MD, addiction and forensic psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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