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How Prevalent is Depression for Teenagers?

Research from the American Family Physician suggests 15% of adolescents might be experiencing depression.  Additional research suggests teen depression is rising.

What are Signs of Adolescent Depression?                    

Adolescent to teen depression can present in a very similar way to adults with some differences.

     Appearing sad, irritable, tearful, angry, or agitated

Changes in appetite/weight, or sleep habits

Decreased interest in activities that are usually pleasurable

Decreased energy

Difficulty with attention/concentration

Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, boredom, helplessness or hopelessness

Mentioning of suicide or a preoccupation with suicidal themes

Withdrawal from others or activities, or isolation

Poor school or activity-based performance

Feeling like a burden to others

What are Causes of Depression with Teenagers?

There can be a variety of factors and they can vary from teen to teen.  However, some common contributors including family conflict/divorce, trauma history, school/educational problems, peer issues, and teasing/bullying.  In addition to situational or environmental factors, genetics can play a role.  Research shows brain differences can also impact adolescent depression.

What’s the Best Treatment for Adolescent Depression?

A comprehensive treatment plan can provide the best treatment for your child.  This could include talk-based counseling.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is an evidence-based treatment form.  In addition to psychotherapy, other services might be of benefit such as a learning/psycho-educational evaluation, tutoring services, social skills training, etc.  Other recommendations could include more exercise, family therapy, reduced screen time, and improved health habits such as regular sleep times and healthy food choices.

Medication is also sometimes an option.  There are different types of medications for depression.  In addition, at times depression might be linked to attention deficit issues and thus medication can be prescribed to help with attention which might lead to improved school success and a reduction in depression.


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