Depression in adolescents, difficulties in diagnosing teen depression, treatment options, and hope for parents of depressed teenagers
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Learn to Cope, Don't Mope

By 4 Therapy

Do you often feel hopeless, helpless, unmotivated and think that there is no light at the end of the tunnel? These are common signs of depression.

There are two types of depression. One type of depression is caused by environmental factors, such as the loss of a job or the loss of a spouse. The second type of depression is biochemical. People who have a chemical imbalance often have mood swings “that seem to come out of nowhere.” For this type of depression, you may have to consult a psychiatrist or your primary care physician to be evaluated for medication. Medication helps to balance out your serotonin level.

The first type of depression I mentioned--caused by environmental factors or external events--can be treated by helping the patient alter their negative or irrational thinking about the event. For example, when a person loses his job or his spouse they may think the situation is catastrophic and feel like their life is over. Even though they experience a traumatic event, their life can still go on. The person who lost his job can look at it as an opportunity to explore different career options, instead of thinking he is a failure. The person who lost his spouse can eventually formulate or strengthen friendships or engage in activities that will fill the void in their life.

Depression that is not biochemical is often caused by the critical or negative messages that we tell ourselves. We are our own worst critics. The negative messages we tell ourselves could stem from our childhood. Even though it is important to explore your past, you also have to learn to cope more effectively with the current symptoms.

Some ways to combat your depressive symptoms:

1.    Engage in activities that give you a positive feeling about yourself;

2.    Treat yourself the way you would treat a beloved friend;

3.    Get rid of negative messages you internalized as a child and create new and positive experiences about yourself;

4.    Have plenty of structure in your day and set small and realistic goals for yourself;

5.    Utilize positive imagery and positive self-talk to combat your negative thoughts;

6.    Reduce social isolation and reach out to friends and family.

By Sherry Persky, CSW

Based in Wantagh, New York, Sherry Persky has worked as a clinical psychotherapist for the past twelve years. She specializes in treating clients,who suffer from  anxiety, depression, panic disorders, and phobias and has developed an eclectic therapeutic treatment approach.

Click Here to learn more about Sherry Persky, CSW

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