What are effective treatments for depression for teenagers?
It’s normal to feel bummed out sometimes, especially when dealing with tough things like exams or breakups. However, if you’re constantly feeling sad and it’s messing with your day-to-day life, you may be experiencing signs of depression.
It’s hard to deal with, but know that it’s treatable! There are multiple effective treatment options, all backed by research. We’ve helped summarise two used to help teens with depression.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT believes that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all connected. Let’s say you think you’re not good enough. The thought will bring down your mood and affect what you do. You could feel anxious and choose to lie in bed all day instead of going out with your friends.
CBT helps you be aware of these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. The goal is to have a more realistic perspective. Let’s see an example:
You: I’m a total failure of a person.
Counsellor: Can you tell me a little more about it?
You: I studied so hard, but I failed my test last week.
Counsellor: I’m sorry to hear that. Have you always failed all your exams?
You: …Well, no. Last semester I passed.
Counsellor: I see, so it was just the last one you didn’t do so well. Doesn’t sound to me like you’re a total failure at all.
Did you catch what the counsellor is trying to do? The idea is to find the proof backing up your beliefs because they could be more realistic most of the time. You tend to be less harsh on yourself when you have a more balanced perspective. That’s what CBT tries to help you achieve.
2. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
Are any of your relationships with friends or family causing stress or making you feel down? Here’s where IPT can help. IPT focuses on improving your relationships with the people in your life because you have stronger mental health if you receive support and care from others.
How does it work?
First, you’ll recognise specific problems in your relationships, like fighting with your parents. Then, with the counsellor, you’ll examine what underlying reason might be causing them. You may see a pattern, like how no one communicates well in your relationships.
Next, the counsellor will teach you things to help the relationship get better. Learning how to set healthy boundaries or manage your emotions when upset might be learning how to set healthy boundaries or manage your emotions when upset. It may take some time, but be patient as you practise what you learn. Take things one day at a time.
There are other successful treatments for depression beyond CBT and IPT. If you’re struggling with depressive symptoms, consider reaching out to someone you can trust for help. Find the courage to take that first step because things can improve.