Does Your Teen Appear More Moody Than Usual?
Do you find your teenager irritable, hostile, or angry? Has your teenager seemed to have lost interest in their usual activities and friends? Have you noticed a significant change in their sleeping or eating habits?
Teen years can be extremely tough and depression affects teenagers more than we realize. It can be obvious that your teen is depressed if you see them frequently crying and they seem to have the less energy. Alternatively, your teen could be more irritable and frustrated with some angry outbursts. Depressed teens tend to be extremely sensitive to criticism because of their feelings of being unloveable and worthless. Your teen’s sadness or irritability might last for several weeks without any change and it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific cause for their mood.
Teen depression can be a serious health problem that impacts all areas of your teen’s life as well as your family dynamic. You may have noticed your teen withdraw from you and their peers which hampers their social connections and exacerbates the depression they feel as they spend too much time alone to escape or hide their depression. Your teen’s grades may have slipped which could be because of their depression.
In addition to social and academic challenges, your depressed teen may have some physical symptoms like sleeping more than usual, having a difficult time getting out of bed, and not having any interest in doing activities without an easy explanation. Your teen might have complained about feeling a heaviness that they cannot seem to manage or get rid of. When your teen becomes so overwhelmed by their thoughts and feelings, they might have thoughts of death and think about suicide which can be challenging to manage without assistance from a therapist and possible medications.
As parents we always want our children to be happy and not have too much pain or sadness but you
might feel helpless and concerned about how to intervene. A common reaction is to just attribute their crying to stress, their irritability to being a teenager, and their lack of interest and energy to being lazy. Depending on your parenting style, you might give your teen some space or nag and yell at your teen to get over it. It is so difficult to recognize and support your teen when you see them struggling.
Your concern for your teen might impact how you are able to take care of yourself, concentrate on work, or manage family matters. As parents of teens, sometimes we adopt our teens feelings to help them with the overwhelming weight of the feelings. We find ourselves thinking about and worrying about how to solve their situation that we neglect ourselves and our own needs. But when we neglect ourselves, we get run down, sick, and burnt out.
Acknowledging and identifying your teen’s depression and its impact will be the beginning of helping your teen be less troubled by their depression, more energetic, and engaged with you. With the right support and guidance, you and your teen can learn skills to navigate those overwhelming depressed feelings when they appear.
It is Common For Your Teen To Struggle With Depression
Everyone has times when they feel upset and overwhelmed; however, teenagers seem to have more challenges with their emotions because their maturing brain is not fully equipped to successfully handle all of their feelings each moment.
As your teen tries to figure out who they are, they are constantly bombarded by trying to fit in with their own tribe while living up to your expectations. You can imagine this might create irritable and depressed teens as they are balancing the needs of themselves, their peers, and you. Your teen might process this pressure online looking for acceptance. If your teen does not receive acceptance but meanness, then these negative comments might cause your teen to internalize the negativity and become depressed.
Depression is treatable and with the right guidance and support I am confident they will learn to recognize their feelings, understand what might be causing the depression, and learn some coping strategies to feel better. You can rest assured that your teen will engage with you and others and learn to ask for your help when they need it.
Depression Counseling Can Help Your Teen Feel Better
I have been working with teenagers with depression for over twenty years. A strong relationship is vital to assist your teen to manage their depression as it provides your teenager the space to understand their situation. I provide a warm, compassionate, and safe environment for your teen to share their concerns, build upon their strengths, and guide and understand the areas that need growth.
I see all teenagers as unique and not fitting into a cookie cutter mold of a teen which I believe allows me to build a rapport with your teen. I help your teen to focus on what they need and want to get out of therapy. If your teenager has spoken with a therapist previously, I explore what your teenager did and did not like about therapy so I can tailor the therapy to them. Overall, my goal is to help you and your teenager feel some relief from the stress of teen depression and gain confidence for the future.
In our initial sessions, I will address the concerns you and your teenager have to ensure that I understand the magnitude of the problem and how each person sees it. Many teenagers have difficulty communicating their needs to adults and working with a therapist allows them to practice advocating for themselves. I find teens buy into the therapeutic process if they feel that the therapist will be honest and keep their confidence. Sharing what is happening inside one’s mind can be a scary experience especially for teenagers.
Many of the teenagers with whom I have worked benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT). This treatment helps teenagers to recognize and identify the repetitive thoughts that keep them static and stuck in their depression. Cognitive behavioral techniques can help your teenager to adopt new thoughts and gain greater awareness of how they can manage their depression in a new way.
The following sessions can be a combination of meeting with your teen as well as family counseling to address the individual needs of your teen as well as help the family to speak about the impact your teen’s depression has had on the family dynamic. I always invite parents to communicate with me regarding any concerns they are having with their teenager. That said, everyone’s privacy will be protected in the therapy. If I am concerned that your teen might be at risk of harming themselves or others, I will share my concerns to ensure the safety of your teen.
Your teen will gain skills and confidence from treatment that will help them through the rest of their life. I see a light at the end of the tunnel for your stress and your teenager’s depression. I am confident with the right guidance and support you and your teen will feel better and more confident for the future.
You May Still Have Questions About Depression Counseling For Your Teen
I think my teenager has depression and needs help, but is counseling really going to help?
As parents of teens know, convincing older kids to do something they don’t want to do is difficult. Teens are growing up which means they want and need more control and independence. However, sometimes teens might not be the best judge of what they need, and at those times it is essential for parents to give them an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Many teenagers do not feel comfortable sharing their needs with their parents and a neutral, compassionate therapist can help. Having the space with a therapist can work towards improving your relationship with your teen as well as allow you both to recognize what each are experiencing and understand the challenges each face daily.
What if my teenager doesn’t think they have a problem?
Sometimes teens do not think they have a problem or are ambivalent about treatment. I ask your teen what they might want to get out of therapy to help them buy into the therapeutic process. This helps to get your teenager motivated toward working together and helping to get everyone’s priorities attended to.
My teenager seems scared of therapy
Teenagers often start to identify with their depression and they may not recognize how depression has taken over their lives. Therefore, your teen could be comfortable with their depression which might make them resistant to therapy. However, the therapy will allow your teenager to recognize how their depression has not been helpful, kept them stuck, and how they can adopt new valuable skills to help them cope and feel better.
You Don’t Have To Let Stress and Depression Control Your Teenager’s Life
If you would like your teenager to feel more secure and confident in their life, I would be honored to help. Please call 747-998-2148 to set up your free 15-minute consultation to see how teen counseling for depression could help you and your teenager.