Being diagnosed with depression as a teenager is a worrying and emotional time for both the teen and their family. However, the first step to recovery is admitting that you need help. Doing this means you can obtain a diagnosis from a medical professional. You might be a bit concerned about treatment options, due perhaps to the enduring popularity in the public conscious of historical treatments for depression such as lobotomies and electro-convulsive therapy. However, medical knowledge has progressed enormously, and you can rest assured that the treatment methods now available are not as invasive or traumatic, and are certain to really help you in your fight against depression.
Two medications have been approved by the FDA to treat teen depression: fluoxetine (Prozac) and escitalopram (Lexapro). Anti-depressants work by resetting a chemical imbalance in your brain. As everyone is different, it might take some time to find the right medication and dosage that works for you. Don’t stop taking a medication if it doesn’t seem to be having an effect at first — sometimes it takes several weeks for your body to adjust to the medication. It’s also important that you take your medication exactly as prescribed by the doctor for you to receive the most benefit. If, after a few weeks of taking your medication, you feel that you are “better,” don’t be tempted to just stop taking them, as this could result in severe side effects. When you are ready, your doctor will wean you off any medication in stages.
Sometimes, the most effective method of teen depression treatment is to spend a period of time in a residential treatment program. These provide a safe and welcoming environment in which to work through your issues away from the stressors in your home environment. Residential treatment centers are staffed by medical professionals, including nurses, doctors, and therapists specializing in the treatment of depression, who are on hand day and night should you have any additional difficulties during your recovery. After a consultation, doctors will provide you with a personalized treatment program designed with your personal mental health and behavioral needs in mind. With this support, you will not only overcome your depression but gain indispensable mental tools to help you deal with issues that might arise in the future, too.
You might not be able to attend a residential treatment program due to family, work, or school obligations. If this is the case, a good alternative would be to attend counseling. Also known as “talking therapy,” a trained counselor will help you to explore the reasons behind your depression, exploring your relationships and any damaging memories you may be harboring. If you think that raking over the past will only cause more harm, don’t worry — a counselor will also work with you to gain coping methods to help ease your depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Dealing with issues from your past and learning coping tools will help you to regain a sense of control and happiness in your life.