Help for Depressed Teenagers

Help for Depressed Teenagers Survival Guide for Depression

Depression doesn’t last forever – if you get help! (image by Lucia Whittaker via flickr)

If you’re a teen struggling with depressed feelings, you need to know two things: 1) you’re not alone; and 2) depression is a treatable health issue. These tips for depressed teens will help you find ways to cope.

Teenagers don’t always realize that depression can often be easily and effectively treated. Feelings of helplessness and despair are overwhelming, and can cause teens to believe they’ll never find the right help for depression. Depressed teens may also think that they can’t talk to anyone, that nobody understands, and that there’s no way out. This is the depression talking; it’s not reality.

Feelings of depression can be effectively treated, but only if teens and adolescents take it upon themselves to get help. This article includes a list of questions you need to ask your doctor before taking antidepressants.

Here’s a book that will guide you through depression: When Nothing Matters Anymore: A Survival Guide for Depressed Teens. It’s really important to remember that you’re not alone. The more you talk about your feelings, the more you’ll learn that most people feel depressed at some point in their lives.

Open Up to an Adult About How You Feel

Many teenagers and adolescents are reluctant to talk about their feelings of depression, sadness, or anxiety with their parents. Teens and adolescents don’t want to worry their parents or cause problems. They also may feel that parents won’t understand, or will become anxious or angry.

Sometimes parents aren’t the best “go to” people when teens are dealing with depression. In that case, some teens and adolescents find other adults supportive: guidance counselors, teachers, spiritual leaders, or coaches. Peer mentors or youth leaders can also be extremely helpful. Eventually, however, depressed teens and adolescents must accept that parents may have to be involved in the treatment at some point. Getting help for depression often involves leaving comfort zones and having difficult discussions.

Be Ready to Discuss Your Depressed Feelings

Help for depressed teens and adolescents is most effective when they are prepared to describe when they first started feeling sad, anxious, or helpless. The more specific teenagers are in describing their feelings, the more effective the treatment process. And, the more willing teens and adolescents are to find solutions and get help for their depressed feelings, the better and more empowered they’ll feel.

Depressed teens also need to remember that depression affects millions of North Americans! Depression is called the “common cold” of mental health because it affects so many people. Feelings of depression are part of most people’s everyday experience and mental health – but long-lasting, serious feelings of hopelessness and helplessness need to be addressed as soon as possible.

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If you’re depressed because of a break up, read Do You Think About Your Ex All the Time? 6 Ways to Stop Obsessing.

Antidepressants: One Possible Treatment for Teen Depression

Have you been diagnosed with depression? That can feel overwhelming and frightening. Talk to your doctor and parents about different ways to treat depression. I’ve read that the best therapy is a combination of antidepressants and talk therapy, but it really depends on the cause of your depression.

Questions to Ask a Doctor About Depression Medication (Antidepressants)

It’s important not to feel embarrassed or nervous about asking a doctor these questions. Finding a good treatment plan is crucial to overcoming depression. And, finding that treatment plan requires asking plenty of questions. It can be helpful to take a friend or family member along, for support.

  • “After a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or depression, what’s the next step?”
  • “How long will this treatment plan last?”
  • “Should I see a psychologist or psychiatrist regularly?”
  • “How much do antidepressants or depression medications cost?”
  • “What are the possible side effects of these antidepressants or depression medication?”
  • “Are there other antidepressants that offer the same benefits, with different side effects?”
  • “What should I do if I miss a dose or two?”
  • “What is a realistic goal, depending on this diagnosis and treatment plan?”
  • “What lifestyle changes might help make the depression medication or antidepressants more effective?”
  • “Do you recommend any support groups for bipolar disorder or depression?”
  • “What, if anything, should I tell my family and friends?”
  • “Do you accept phone or e-mail consultations? Who do I call in an emergency?”

Asking these questions about antidepressants will help you take control of your emotional health and create an effective treatment plan.

Treatment plans for bipolar disorder or depression often include medication, education, and psychotherapy. Whatever treatment plan is prescribed, it’s important to stick with the plan. Stopping treatment without a doctor’s support can lead to more severe episodes of depression.

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Maybe it’s not you who is struggling with depression…maybe it’s someone you love. Read When Your Boyfriend is Depressed – 6 Things You Can Do to Help.

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