Depression affects many people around the world. This is not just a general statement; it’s based upon truth. Globally, five percent of the population across the planet suffers from depression. And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a recent report indicates that the rates of suicide have increased 60% over the past 50 years.
Surprisingly, this is not only for industrialized nations, but for developing countries as well. There seems to be a relationship between the growing urbanization of the world and the increase in mental illnesses among the world population. Perhaps it is the inaccessible beaches and parks that are common to cities. Perhaps it’s the distance from nature, from others, and from oneself. In a city, adults and adolescents tend to stay focused on their individual lives, lost in their smart phones, and having their attention shift from one piece of technology to another. There’s no real connection that might be satisfying and psychologically nourishing.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a common mental illness in the United States. In fact, about 70 percent of all antidepressants sold in the world are sold in the United States, and according to a 2011 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of antidepressant use in the United States rose by 400 percent between 1988 and 2008.
And among teens, depression is also a common psychological disorder. Partly, it’s the stage of life their in, with all its stresses physically and emotionally and neurologically. However, not all teens experience depression – depression is not inherent to adolescent. But due to the psychologically stressful life stage and if other conditions are present, depression can develop. For some teens it can become so severe that suicide becomes a part of their thinking, drug use is a part of their behavioral choices, and their life becomes more and more difficult to manage. Functioning at home, school, and work become impaired.
When this happens, teen depression rehab might be in order. When teens have the following symptoms, it might be useful for them to attend either a day treatment center or a residential program. A day treatment center is where adolescents can attend a supportive environment during the day. Their day is highly structured with various forms of treatment. Another option for teen depression rehab is a residential treatment center. At this level of care, a teen will live at a treatment center and receive 24-hour care. The symptoms listed below could point to the need for a day treatment center or residential treatment center:
- Anger and aggression, especially in male depressed teens
- Low self-esteem, high self-criticism, extreme pessimism, especially if they are female
- Confused and dysfunctional thinking
- High self-consciousness
- Irritable / depressed mood – the DSM allows for irritable mood to substitute for depressed mood in the criteria for making a diagnosis for depression.
- Loss of interest in activities
- Poor interpersonal problem solving and high stress from close relationships
- Antisocial behavior, particularly in males
- Sleep disturbance – insomnia / hypersomnia
- Appetite disturbance – weight loss/gain
- Difficulty coping with stress from relationships, family environment, or depressed parents
- Symptoms of other mental illnesses, which are common to co-exist with adolescent depression, such as ADHD, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders.
- Suicidal thoughts
- Poor concentration
- Poor memory
- Slow thinking
As a parent or caregiver, if you have a concern about the mental health of your child, it is always better to err on the side of getting professional help. In order to be diagnosed for depression, your child must meet certain diagnostic criteria. This, along with knowing the emotional and behavioral history of your child as well as the history of depression in your family will assist a psychologist or therapist in making an accurate diagnosis.
Whether you and your child leave the office of a psychologist with a diagnosis or not, at least you have acquired the information you need to determine whether your teenager’s behavior is typical of adolescence. This information empowers you to make the best decisions for the health and well being of your teen. If teen depression rehab becomes necessary, choices exist for the various levels of care that best meet the needs of your child.