Adolescence is an extremely challenging period of time in the developmental lifespan.
It is a journey of self-discovery; while at the same time our teenagers face the possibility of being bullied; going through physical, psychological and emotional changes; keeping up with expectations from parents; and dealing with peer pressure, to name a few.
In addition, is the relatively new pressure of social media. It seems teenagers don’t get much downtime from technology and are more frequently exposed to judgement, ridicule and bullying, as technology has encouraged them to stay connected with their peers and the world, 24/7.
It is understandable then, that we are seeing an increased rate of depression in teenagers.
So what can we do? The first step in helping teenagers with depression is making sure parents are prepared: with enough information so that they can identify the signs and symptoms; and with parenting strategies, and strategies specifically for dealing with teenagers. This will help teenagers as they learn to manage their symptoms and to set goals for their future; and help parents improve their relationship with their teen.
Symptoms of Teenage Depression
So what does depression look like in a teenager, and what are some of the signs to look for? Depression symptoms can include:
- Depressed/Irritable mood
- Reduced interest in daily activities
- Changes in eating patterns and weight
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Feeling worthless and sensitive to criticism
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of death/suicide
- Anger and aggression
- Withdrawal from friends/family
Treating Teenage Depression
Understanding contributing factors can help parents and teenagers work on alleviating pressure from their lives.
Therapy specifically for teenagers will focus on an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach, with the main aim being to help them be the best version of themselves. Teenagers will gain a better understanding of emotions and thoughts, and learn how to deal with them in an effective way; and they will also learn Relapse Prevention.
What can I do as a Parent?
As part of therapy, parents will receive helpful information and strategies such as:
- Identifying the signs of Depression;
- How to stay connected with your teenager;
- Setting boundaries for electronic and internet devices;
- Conveying understanding and empathy towards your teen;
- Encouraging physical activity and social interactions;
- Identifying if additional assessment/treatment is required in the form of Psychiatric/Paediatric assessment.
If you are concerned about your teenager possibly having depression, please do not hesitate to make an appointment to see me.
Leia has a wealth of experience in clinical child and adolescent psychology although she can treat individuals and couples of all ages. She has training and experience in a variety of evidence based treatment approaches.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Leia Redman try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. DSM-V.