For parents of teens who are considered normal, life is chaotic. Their children are growing and are becoming their own individuals. Parents will watch as their young children grow into their own personality and into the angst of becoming a teenager with raging hormones and peer pressure. They experience emotional highs and lows that are considered the rite of passage into becoming independent of their parents and their family unit. Life for them will have their ups and downs but they will survive it unscathed and sometimes becoming a better person for it. For others, depression will grip their lives causing an upheaval in the family and an emotional rollercoaster for the teen trying to survive from day to day in a world where they believe they do not belong.
Most people will experience some type of depression in their lives. For most it will be mild and will not require treatment. For others though, depression will grip their lives and completely consume who they are preventing them from moving forward in their lives. For teens depression is real and often ignored in the eyes of adults. They do not believe that life for teens is as tough as it really is. Teens have to often deal with the pressure from their peers, fitting in with their peers, doing well in school and trying to come to terms with what is happening to their bodies. For some of these teens not only are they dealing with everyday life they are also dealing with demons that have been a part of their lives in one aspect or another. This can stem from abuse they may have suffered as a young child, difficulty of not being part of the in crowd in school, being bullied at school, and even an assault that may have happened to them by someone they trusted.
Life becomes unbearable for these youth and their families suffer right along with them. Parents become bewildered on how to help their teen as they shut down emotionally to them and will not talk to them. Teens are convinced that parents will not understand what they are going through therefore they will not be able to help them through it and their siblings do not know anything and therefore unable to offer emotional help. The whole family unit feels the effects of the teen suffering from depression. Parents feel helpless as they watch their teen suffering, unable to help them. Their siblings are left on the sidelines as all their parents efforts are put into getting the one suffering from depression better. They may form feeling of resentment and anger towards their sibling as well as their parents. These siblings feel as if they are now invisible in their parents eyes.
Parents often do not know where to turn when their child is suffering and often does not want to admit that anything is wrong. When a teen is depressed their grades can drop and their family and peer relationships can be affected as well as showing other emotional issues that coexist w with depression (Jaycox et al., 2009). These symptoms can have a lasting effect on both the family unit as well as peer relationships (Jaycox et al., 2009). Depression can also occur with other underlying medical issues that will need to be addressed.
Treatment for depression in teens needs to include the teen suffering from it as well as their primary care physician and a family therapist. Treatment plans will depend on the severity and type of depression a teen is suffering from. Some of these treatments can include individual, group and family counseling, medication, interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and frequent doctors visits that will help to monitor their progress (Zaprzelski,A.,MD, CCFP, 2009). All of these measures will help along with support groups for both the parents, teens and their siblings. When one person in a family unit is depressed it has an effect on the whole family. This is the reason that they all need to be involved in therapy to help them cope with the issues.
Treatment for depression will need to be ongoing and monitored. For some teens their depression is so deep that they may not see any way out of it other than to end their own lives (Zaprzelski,A.,MD, CCFP, 2009). For them the road to recovery will be long but in the end with the right treatment they will be able to heal and someday live a normal life. Depression may reoccur in some teens as they get older and grow into adulthood, but given the right tools at a young age they will be able to deal with it and recognize the symptoms much earlier and seek help when needed.
Jaycox, L., Stein, B., Paddock, S., Miles, J., Chandra, A., DrPH, Meredith, L., et al. (2009). Impact of teen depression on academic, social, and physical functioning. Pediatrics, 124(4), E596. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1871803881&Fmt=7&clientId=49311&RQT=309&VName=PQD
Zaprzelski,A.,MD, CCFP. (2009). Teenage blues. Family Health, 25(3), 24. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1865541431&Fmt=7&clientId=49311&RQT=309&VName=PQD