Because of the vast physical and emotional changes that happen during the adolescent years, it is inevitable that your son will tangle with the stress of depression at some point. While some level of the blues is completely normal, some teens are unable to bring themselves out from under the dark cloud that chronic depression introduces into their lives. In such cases, it is helpful to know what options are available that will allow you to help your teen recover and move toward a brighter future.
Exercise – While it may seem simple, exercise is one of the first solutions for treating depression. When the body is active, it produces more endorphin’s and chemicals that ease negative thoughts and feelings. In addition, introduction to exercise can help your son develop confidence, create friendships and practice positive habits that he can fall back on throughout his life.
Therapy – Talk therapy can be highly beneficial for depressed teens that need help sorting out big feelings or issues at school and home. While a therapist experienced in adolescent psychology is going to be trained on how to specifically approach your teen and his needs, you also can’t quantify the benefits he may get from working with someone that is separate from his home and social life. Your son may be willing to tell a therapist things that he is not willing to share with you.
Medication – Depending on the research you do, medication for depression sometimes gets a bad reputation, when it can actually be a life-saving option for the most severe cases. It is becoming more commonly known that depression is not a matter of character or willpower, but is the result of a chemical imbalance within the brain that is frequently triggered during the intense changes of adolescence. The right medication can restore this balance and give your son a better option to recover his true self. It is important to work closely with your teen’s pediatrician and therapist to make sure that he is getting the right combination of medicine to help him as it may take a few tries to get it right.
Support – One of the hallmarks of depression is a tendency to feel alone, even in a crowd. While you can’t necessarily “talk” your son out of being depressed, you can show him in a variety of ways that he is important to you and committed to making sure that he gets the help he needs. Talk to your teen, make sure that you are communicating as much as possible, even if his instincts are to be moody and unhelpful. Whether he admits it or not, he needs your love and support more than anyone else’s and he also needs to know that depression is something that is not his fault and should not be ignored.
If your teen is struggling with depression, find out more ways to help him on our site at Sundance Canyon Academy.