Teen Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how your teenager thinks, feels, and behaves for instance, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems.

What causes depression in teens?

Today’s youth face many challenges. The pressure for academic and athletic success can be overwhelming. Family troubles can add to the pressure, causing worry and stress. Then, add hormone havoc combined with a lack of emotional maturity and fear of social judgment. As a result, a sense of teen anxitey develops that often leads into teen depression. According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, 20% of American teenagers will suffer from depression before adulthood. In addition, an estimated 3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number results in roughly 12.5% U.S. experiencing depression annually.

9 Signs of Depression in Teens

  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness (that escalate into suicidal thoughts)
  • Shame or feeling ashamed of who they are
  • Lack of motivation (resulting in feelings of either guilt and/or failure)
  • Stomach aches, headaches, low energy, and fatigue
  • Hard time concentrating (particularly for teens who used to be focused)
  • Sleep patterns are disturbed
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs which can indicate unhealthy coping mechanisms for dulling pain

The Different Types of Teenage Depression

While occasional sadness and feelings of despair are normal, emotions of this nature that last more than a few days could be a sign of depression. Often called depressive disorder some of the different types of Depression are:

  • Major depression can rise in bouts and last for a long period of time. It affects the quality of life, alters sleep patterns, and eating habits. Persistent depressive disorder also affects functioning.
  • Melancholic depression typically manifests as one of the following: a depression that is different from grief or loss, weight loss or loss of appetite, extreme irritability, early morning awakening, excessive feelings of guilt, or worse mood in the AM.
  • Seasonal depression adolescents who only experience depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly triggered in the winter with lack of sunlight
  • Atypical depression in contrast to Melancholic Depression that involves several specific symptoms increased appetite/weight gain, excessive sleep, marked fatigue and driven by moods that are reactive to circumstances, and feeling extremely sensitive to rejection
  • Postpartum depression is linked with hormonal changes in women after giving birth
  • Psychotic depression includes symptoms of psychosis (which is considered a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact to external reality is lost)
  • Bipolar disorder is a more serious form of depression. Sufferers experience extreme highs and lows. This condition is also a long-term effect of depression in 15% of teenagers.

Facts about Teen Depression - Infographic | Newport Academy

How is teenage depression treated?

The good news is, you are not alone. An estimated 20% of teenagers will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood. There is not a one-size fits for all solution in treating depression in teens. Many people go through feelings of loss and despair, and find the professional help that improves symptoms, leading to a more fulfilling life.

Individual Therapy (Psychotherapy)

With teenage depression there are different forms of individual therapy that contributes towards sustainable healing.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, brings clarity to what a person is feeling, and identifies insights into what improves or worsens those emotions that often results in feelings of isolation
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, helps people identify their strengths and how to accentuate those positive attributes, while also identifying the thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that make life more difficult
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy, is an evolution where adolescents seek healing and transformation through their own volition, and to help resolve ambivalence towards engaging in treatment

Does Medication such as Antidepressants effectively treat teenage depression?

For extreme cases, antidepressant drugs can be a helpful counterpart to use in conjunction with psychotherapy and holistic treatment modalities. Depression may be connected to a chemical imbalance in the brain. For instance, medication can help return a person to ‘equilibrium’ to address the true emotions one is experiencing. However, long-term mental health is established by learning the behaviors, skills, and coping mechanisms needed for emotional stability.

Residential treatment

Depending on the severity and length of time a person experiences symptoms of teen depression, treating the underlying causes facing depressed teens is key. Residential treatment allows teens to attend to themselves, especially without the other responsibilities and distractions of life. Teen rehab can also be a very positive and life altering experience. Residential treatment provides a supportive environment and comfortable setting where teens don’t have to face depression alone. This nourishment is reinforced, for example, through modalities that are tailored to individual treatment plans. This process includes experiential therapies, individual therapies, mindfulness practice and other techniques tailored to a teen’s specific needs.

Teen Depression Treatment at Newport Academy

The most important step is to find help. There’s no reason to face the darkness of depression alone. Furthermore, there are many treatment facilities that can service a wide variety of teen depression symptoms and diagnosis.

At Newport Academy, we are dedicated to long-term healing. In considering our program we believe the three most important differentiators about our Residential Treatment program are:

Personalized Treatment

Each adolescent’s individual treatment incorporates evidence-based clinical, experiential, and academic elements for comprehensive care. Upon admission, each adolescent is assigned an eight-person Treatment Team that develops a personalized program to ensure positive growth and sustainable healing:

  1. Psychiatrist
  2. Individual Therapist
  3. Family Therapist
  4. Medical Doctor/Pediatrician
  5. Registered Nurse
  6. Registered Dietician/Nutritionist
  7. Recovery Counselor
  8. Clinical Director, who oversees the Treatment Team

At Newport Academy, we’ve assembled the best adolescent mental health treatment staff in the country to serve as our foundation. Meet Our Team.

Our philosophy is love

We meet our teens where they are, and provide a safe, accepting, and nurturing environment, in which deep issues can surface and be addressed. When an adolescent arrives at Newport Academy, a teenager in the midst of depression can feel inhibited towards love and acceptance. Our compassionate staff loves your teen until they can learn to love themselves. Unconditional love is the foundation of this transformative process and key to our approach in treating depression in teens.

We achieve results

We take the success of our clients very seriously. Since our founding, we’ve achieved an 85% success rate of teens completing the Newport Academy program. For instance, we monitor 15 different treatment goals concerning family, academics, and behavior. These goals analyze Teenage Depression, Stress and Anxiety, Drug and Alcohol Use, Eating Disorders, Suicidal Thoughts and Self Harm, School Performance and Family Dynamics.

Teen Rehab - We achieve results | Newport Academy

“It is our mission, to provide the most comprehensive, impactful treatment for teens to sustain long-term recovery. We enable young people to move out of the darkness and into the light, into happy, fulfilling lives.”

Jamison Monroe, CEO & Founder of Newport Academy - Teen Rehab
Jamison Monroe, Jr.
Newport Academy Founder & CEO

We’re here 24 hours, 7 days a week

To learn more about Newport Academy’s comprehensive approach in treating teenage depression, we encourage you to browse our website or call us 877-959-0904. We’re here 24 hours, 7 days a week.

We have been treating teens for over ten years. At Newport Academy we treat teenagers, ages 12–20, struggling with teenage depression, teen anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, and teenage substance abuse. We offer a 4–1 staff to client ratio.

Teen Rehab - Get Started | Newport Academy

Newport Academy’s treatment programs work

With more than 10 years creating new programs within the teen treatment space, without a doubt, we can say that Newport Academy’s treatment programs work. But the most important thing is to find help, and if Newport Academy isn’t the right fit, we will certainly help you find exactly what it is that your teen and family need.