Dealing with Teen Depression

Is your teen feeling the blues? He may be suffering from depression, a medical condition that requires proper treatment.

Is your teen down in the dumps? While it’s true that teens often experience mood swings, depression is an actual medical condition for which a person is usually predisposed. Psychiatrist Dr. Derrick Smith says, as with most medical conditions, depression can be overcome with the proper treatment. “Depression is a self-limited illness in all ages, so the treatment is aimed at getting the person un-depressed.”

Dr. Miriam Kaufman, pediatrician and author of “Helping Your Teen Overcome Depression- A Guide for Parents” points out some of the common symptoms of this condition. “As parents, if we see a kid who’s not sleeping well, grades are going down, seems unhappy and not enjoying life anymore, I think we should be concerned. It could be many different things, but depression would be at the top of my list.” Dr. Kaufman adds that sometimes what appears to be depression “could be a substance abuse problem, it could be a chronic illness or other things. So the first stop should be at the pediatrician’s or family doctor’s office to see exactly what’s going on.”

When an adolescent or teen is diagnosed with depression Kaufman says there are several treatment options. “What a doctor might offer to a depressed teen could include counseling or psychotherapy that the doctor does himself, or a referral to a therapist, and/or anti-depressant medications.”

What leads to depression? Smith says for anyone predisposed to depression, “stressful life events can precipitate a depression for someone at risk. So if there are loved ones who have died, a sudden move or change in their life, then someone who is predisposed genetically could develop a depression.”

Finally, Kaufman stresses that if your teen is depressed get help because “although most teenagers with a depression will get better within about 6 to 8 months on their own, we don’t really want teenagers to feel horrible for that long. Of course some of them (if not treated) don’t get better and some become suicidal.”


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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