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Understanding Depression in Teens

Is your teen’s behavior or conversation becoming a major concern for you? Are you feeling overwhelmed by his or her moods and don’t know what to do? The teen years can certainly be some of the most challenging. Dealing with hormone changes, a developing body, and a complex world only adds to the challenges. Sometimes teens can feel misunderstood, alone, confused about their identity or peers, or experience fluctuating moods. Most adolescents weather the teen years without major emotional upheaval. For some, however, sadness, loneliness and depression are far too common experiences. As a parent it is difficult to see our teens struggle with depression.

As a result of depression, some teens may seem extremely moody, irritable, helpless or even hopeless. They may experience sleep disturbances, fatigue, poor concentration, physical complaints, dietary changes or a lack of pleasure in activities that once brought them joy. Some teens may experience low self-esteem, guilt, or have a high degree of sensitivity to rejection or failure. On the more extreme end of the spectrum, some teens experiencing depression may have thoughts of suicide or attempt suicide. These situations are serious and need immediate attention and intervention.

Causes of Depression

Depression has many potential causes. It can be a result of biological, genetic, environmental, psychological, or childhood trauma. It may be one or it might also be a combination of these factors. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Major Depressive Disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States.

Many people who experience depressive disorders won’t seek treatment. However, of those who do seek treatment, even those with the most severe depression can get better. Psychotherapy, medications, and other forms of treatment have been demonstrated to help. The earlier treatment starts, the more effective it can be in helping your teen.

How Dr. Bisignano Works With Teens

Dr. Bisignano meets with the teen and their parents for the initial consultation and evaluates if she can be of help or if she is the right psychologist for your teen. If she thinks the needs of the teen may be better served with another professional or facility, she will provide referrals. If your teen is dealing with depression, Dr. Bisignano will determine if we need to bring other doctors into our treatment plan. This may be a psychiatrist or family physician. Dr. Bisignano wants to make sure we have a comprehensive approach if needed. She will then help your teen understand what may be causing the sadness or depression.

When we better understand what the underlying issue may be, Dr. Bisignano will formulate a treatment plan to deal with it. She will help your teen process their thoughts and feelings, teach them skills and strategies to better cope with their thoughts, feelings and behavior, and help them to make healthy choices.

Your teen’s behavior and mood changes may have come on quickly or have been brewing for some time. For a parent some of these observations can be confusing at best and alarming at worst. Often they can leave a parent wondering what to do and who to call for help. If this describes you, then know that you are not alone and that help is available. If you are reading this article then you have taken a first step in seeking help for your teen. Now you are ready for the next step. Dr. Bisignano encourages you to call her Palos Verdes or Manhattan Beach office for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation at (424) 206-9055. Call today and she can help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

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