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Approaches in Psychiatry for Treating Depression in Adolescents
There are many ways psychiatry treats individuals suffering from mental health struggles. The things that are bothering people may have foundations in a traumatic event. Other times, these troubles may have come on for no apparent reason. The number of adolescents dealing with depression has risen over the years. With this growing trend showing no signs of stopping, psychiatrists are continuing to find ways to treat this fragile age group effectively.
The role of psychiatry in treating depression
According to Psychiatric Times, over half of adolescents reported struggling with a depressed mood at one time. Almost 15% of teens have clinical depression, a chemical imbalance that causes the brain to misfire. Adolescent depression often leads to struggles as an adult. Adolescents are more fragile due to the onslaught of hormones and changes in the body. As a result, psychiatrists implement psychiatry tactics that identify the source of teen depression and treatment plans to combat it.
Common ways to treat depression in adolescents
One danger of allowing anyone, especially teens, to struggle with depression long-term is the likelihood of suicidal ideations. These thoughts of worthlessness and wanting to die may drive a person to commit suicide. Intervention on many levels must occur to stop this issue. Psychiatrists often treat depression in teens as they do with adults, using a combination of medication and therapy.
Psychiatrists typically start with talk therapy to identify negative thought patterns that impact the teen's mood. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is more successful when the relationship between therapist and patient remains open, ongoing, and engaged. The goal of CBT involves retraining the brain to stop automatic negative thinking.
Too often, people have detrimental and damaging thoughts that elicit an adverse reaction. The influence of such negative thoughts over time makes it almost impossible for a person to understand that these ways of thinking are unfounded and misguided. Emotional responses to these thoughts become automatic and drag a person deeper into depression. Teaching a patient how to stop these automatic thoughts and shift the reaction remains a primary goal of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Communication skills are fundamental in combating depression in adolescents. Perhaps the area of a teen's life that warrants the most consideration involves relationships with parents, siblings, and friends. Talking with a teen may challenge even the most experienced parent. Interpersonal psychotherapy arms adolescents with the skills to identify and implement healthy ways to communicate with those who want to help them. Interpersonal psychotherapy's structure aims to educate adolescents to improve their ability and confidence to share the stress and issues that drag them down, teaching a number of key skills:
- The development of problem-solving skills to improve specific relationships
- The identification of those relationships that are the most challenging
- The implementation of healthy communication strategies through role-play and practice
Interpersonal psychotherapy leads to stronger familial relationships, something that helps dispel depression in adolescents.
Group therapy is in some ways similar to interpersonal therapy. However, the difference is interpersonal psychotherapy focuses on developing interpersonal skills that can help adolescents form relationships, solve problems, and communicate effectively. Group therapy offers a way to put these interpersonal skills to practice. Subsequently, it is often paired along with psychotherapy.
Additionally, group therapy offers a way for adolescents with depression to talk and form relationships with other children and teenagers that are dealing with similar symptoms and are in a similar situation. Many of the relationships that are formed in group therapy turn into lifelong friendships. It also helps the adolescent patient learn new coping mechanisms, find new hobbies, and much more.
Depression can exist in many children who have a great family and support system. Even when this is the case, family therapy is a great idea. Additionally, issues at home can only make matters worse with depression at a young age, and dealing with them with family therapy is a great way to help adolescents overcome their depression.
Art therapy is another great way to help patients deal with depression. Art is incredibly therapeutic, especially for children and teenagers. Art therapy allows younger individuals (and adults as well) to express themselves through art. Many younger patients find this to be much easier and more effective in treating depression.
The practice of psychiatry aims to improve the lives of adolescents by helping with the identification and correction of negative thought patterns and the improvement of communication with allies. The fight against ending teen depression must continue to stop the recurrence of major depressive episodes in adulthood and put an end to senseless deaths.
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