Dealing with a Depressed Teenager
One of the most frustrating challenges that a parent of a teen can face is if their son or daughter is fighting depression. Most teens will go out of their way to avoid talking about this problem with their parents out of fear and shame.
Troubled teens don't always outwardly show the signs of their problems. In many cases, teenagers are more likely to withdraw from friends and family members if they are having emotional problems rather than address their issues. This is especially true when teens are dealing with depression. Fear and embarrassment frequently can lead them to shun people who could give them the help they need to regain control of their lives.
Because adolescents are often unwilling to communicate their feelings when battling depression, helping troubled teens is a difficult task. This is made even more frustrating when you consider that depression has a different impact on teens than it does with adults. According to HelpGuide.org, teens are more likely than adults to be irritable, angry or have fits of rage if they are dealing with depression. This can lead adults to back away instead of pushing ahead to help teens confront their problems.
One of the most troubling effects of teen depression is substance abuse. Surveys have shown that teens who deal with depression are far more likely to experiment with and become addicted to drugs and alcohol than other teens. Illicit substances can offer teens a brief feeling of happiness, although usually followed up by an even stronger feeling of depression than before. This cycle can land teens in residential treatment centers and start them on the path to a lifetime of substance abuse problems.
If your son or daughter is dealing with depression, it's important to talk to them in a straightforward manner, making sure they understand that you are not judging them and that they have your unconditional support. A first step in the process could be visiting their doctor in order to perform tests to determine if the depression has physical causes. If this is the case, medicine or other treatment could solve the issue without the need to search for troubled teens programs.
If the issues are more than just physical, it's important to work with a therapist or child psychologist to determine the right course of action. Therapy and medication might be the answer, or your teen could require staying in one of the boys boarding schools that deal specifically with teens fighting depression.