Wednesday we talked about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in our teens/tweens. Today, let’s look at some ways we can address the issue of depression once we have recognized it.
If you are a teen or the parent of a teen who is depressed, getting treatment is vital. There are various approaches to treating teen depression, from conventional to alternative. Here are some of those options:
Some parents balk at medicating their teens, but it may help to look at it as a temporary measure to help your teen seek other therapy. Sometimes the medication can help relieve symptoms to the point that your teen is receptive to other treatments.
Many teens are given anti-depressants. These include drugs like Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac; but these medications are known for their potentially harmful side effects. So make sure your teen is carefully monitored when he or she undertakes any medication treatment program.
There are various types of therapy for teens with depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of treatment that gives teens the tools to “climb out of” their depressed state. CBT works on rewiring the brain from negative thought patterns to positive ones. Group treatment can often be a viable treatment option.
Counseling is another option for teens with depression. They may prefer to have the family included in a family counseling session. This can be very healing for the whole family, enhancing understanding and providing ways for family members to support the depressed teen. Individual counseling can also be helpful, especially for teens who are not comfortable opening up around their parents.
B vitamins are considered essential for those who have mood disorders. Deficiencies in any of the B vitamins may result in depression, especially B1 and B6. A good B-complex vitamin supplement may help your teen deal with his or her depression and relieve some symptoms.
The intake of healthy fats has been implicated in the relief of depression symptoms. Consider giving your teen supplements of flax, evening primrose, or fish oil. Also encourage the consumption of healthy fats in the diet, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and olive oil. St. John’s Wort is an herb that is considered to have anti-depressant qualities. Just make sure to check with a health care professional before adding any supplements to your child’s diet.
A healthy diet should probably have been listed as number one! Teens often indulge in junk foods, and the artificial colors (particularly FD&C yellow #5), artificial flavors, and other unpronounceable ingredients in junk foods can wreak havoc on the body – specifically by upsetting hormones. Pesticide residue may also have a similar effect; eating organic foods can decrease your teen’s exposure to these potential hormone disruptors.
Regular exercise is important in treating depression. Teens may spend too much time in front of computers or television, or tapping away on mobile devices. Enrolling in a class (martial arts, Pilates, aerobics, dance, etc.) would help your teen get out and get some social time, and also exercise his or her body. Exercise increases the amount of “happy” hormones in the brain, thus alleviating the signs and symptoms of depression.
Even in the secular arena, the power of prayer is acknowledges in treating many ailments, including depression. Let your teen know that God is not offended when we are angry or upset. God has broad shoulders and wants our kids to come to Him so that He can provide comfort and peace that only comes from Him.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore a depressed teen. Dealing with depression should be a team effort between you and your child, with a commitment to seeing them emotionally healthy.