Los Angeles Teen Therapist | Article

Is Your Teen Depressed?

What should a parent do if they learn their teen is depressed?

Teen depression is on the increase, affecting one out of every 20 teenagers. Mark Tyrell, director of Uncommon Knowledge says that "What we are seeing are changes in society where the basic needs for companionship, healthy goals, responsibility, connection to others and life-meaning are not being automatically met. Instead, teens are being exposed to marketing images designed to show us how we are supposed to look, sound and be, and told that this is important in life. Meaning is attached to what they have, or look like, rather than who they are; their natural talents, inclinations, achievements and character."

During the teenage years, the pressure to conform with their peers can be incredibly strong. If kids feel different, inadequate or deprived in some way, then depression may be the result.

It is important for parents to make a distinction between situational depression: which is a normal reaction to stressful situations or losses, and clinical depression: believed to be caused by disordered brain biochemistry and not related to external situations. Regardless of the cause, it can be beneficial for teens to work through these periods with help from a trained professional.

Dr. Andrew Weil feels that kids need to learn that happiness is not some end point to be achieved, but rather something that occurs in moments... and that more effective goals are to seek a sense of peace and contentment through the ups and downs, learn how to see and accept life as is, and find ways to respond appropriately to each situation. "The idea that one must be, and look, endlessly cheerful is a destructive and daunting expectation for teens. In actuality, it is perfectly normal to experience "the blues," just as it is perfectly normal to experience joy and bliss."

Emotional well-being means learning how to find resilience, contentment, comfort, and serenity among the various expressions of one's moods.