Supporting Mental Health in Teenagers: Understanding and Managing Depression

Supporting Mental Health in Teenagers: Understanding and Managing Depression

Mental health is a vital aspect of overall health and well-being. Depression among teenagers is a problem affecting young people around the country. It leads to reduced interest in activities and persistent sadness. 


It affects how they feel, think, and behave and can lead to emotional, physical, and functional problems. Learn more about supporting mental health in teenagers by understanding and managing depression.



Mental Health in Teenagers 



Depression can occur at any stage of life and is challenging for anyone, but symptoms often differ between teens and adults. If your teen shows signs of depression, you can provide love and support to help them navigate the challenges. 


Most teens experience problems caused by issues such as changing bodies, peer pressure, and academic expectations. While the low moments are temporary for many, they become full-scale depression for some. Teen depression can have serious consequences and may require long-term treatment.



Causes of Depression



It is unclear what the exact cause of depression is, but it can be linked to various issues. The issues include brain chemistry, hormones, inherited traits, and early childhood trauma. Teen depression is often linked to learned or acquired patterns of negative thinking. They feel helpless rather than thinking about solutions to face challenges. 


Some factors can increase the risk of developing depression, ranging from self-esteem issues to family problems. Some individuals are more prone to depression than others. 



Symptoms of Depression



Some signs can indicate your teen may be suffering from depression. They include:


  • Changes in behavior and attitude.
  • Feelings of anger or frustration, even over minor issues.
  • Loss of interest in usual activities. 
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness. 
  • Exhibiting feelings of sadness, which may include frequent crying. 
  • Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness. 
  • Being annoyed or irritable. 
  • Conflicts with family and friends. 
  • Extreme sensitivity to failure or rejection.
  • Experiencing low self-esteem. 
  • Self-criticism and fixation on past failures.  
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions. 


Depressed teens may have frequent thoughts of dying, death, or suicide. They have an ongoing sense of a bleak life and future. They may exhibit behavioral changes such as loss of energy or tiredness, sleeping too much, insomnia, and changes in appetite. 



Providing Support for Depressed Teenagers



Some things you can do to support depressed teenagers include:


  • Talk to them and encourage them to open up and share their feelings. 
  • Support them by working together to set up new goals and routines.
  • Listen to your teen’s views and work through conflicts together. 
  • Talk to a doctor or mental health professional. 
  • Communicating with your teen will help you determine whether they are capable of managing their feelings. If they seem overwhelmed, it is time to seek professional help. 



Benefits of Seeing a Professional Psychiatrist



Seeking professional help from a psychiatrist can be an effective way for teenagers to manage their depression. Psychiatrists are trained professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. They can provide a safe and non-judgmental space for teenagers to discuss their thoughts and feelings, and work with them to develop an individualized treatment plan.


During the initial consultation, the psychiatrist will typically ask the teenager questions about their symptoms, medical history, and family history of mental health conditions. They may also administer tests and assessments to help make an accurate diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, the psychiatrist will work with the teenager to develop a treatment plan that may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. It is important for teenagers and their families to be open and honest with the psychiatrist in order to receive the most effective treatment for their depression. With the right treatment, teenagers can learn to manage their depression and lead happy, healthy lives.



Managing Depression



It is essential to realize that symptoms of depression are not likely to improve without intervention. If not treated or managed, depression can worsen and lead to drug or alcohol abuse, violence, or suicide.  


Poor academic performance, frequent complaints of illness, restlessness or agitation, social isolation, and poor personal hygiene can be symptoms of depression. If your teen is harming themselves or has made a suicide attempt, do not hesitate to contact a mental health professional. 


For more on supporting mental health in teenagers, visit Choulet Wellness: Scottsdale Concierge Psychiatry & Therapy at our Scottsdale, Arizona office. Call (480) 448-6571 to schedule an appointment today.

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