Tag Archive | Teen Depression

Teen Depression: 10 Common Causes

Adolescence can be a very turbulent and difficult time, even for the most well-adjusted child. Depression strikes teenagers and adults alike, and can have far-reaching implications when kids suffer from emotional difficulties that they aren’t sure how to manage. After noticing the signs of depression in your teen and helping him to get the treatment he needs, understanding the root of his depression can help to make the situation more manageable for everyone involved.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list of all causes of teen depression, these ten situations can be very common contributing factors to depression.

  1. Academic Stress – Kids are under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed academically, especially as the costs of higher education rise and more families are reliant upon scholarships to help offset the expense. Stressing over classes, grades and tests can cause kids to become depressed, especially if they’re expected to excel at all costs or are beginning to struggle with their course load.
  2. Social Anxiety or Peer Pressure – During adolescence, teenagers are learning how to navigate the complex and unsettling world of social interaction in new and complicated ways. Popularity is important to most teens, and a lack of it can be very upsetting. The appearance of peer pressure to try illicit drugs, drinking or other experimental behavior can also be traumatic for kids that aren’t eager to give in, but are afraid of damaging their reputation through refusal.
  3. Romantic Problems – When kids become teenagers and enter adolescence, romantic entanglements become a much more prominent and influential part of their lives. From breakups to unrequited affection, there are a plethora of ways in which their budding love lives can cause teens to become depressed.
  4. Traumatic Events – The death of a loved one, instances of abuse or other traumatic events can have a very real impact on kids, causing them to become depressed or overly anxious. In the aftermath of a trauma, it’s wise to keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or signs of depression in your teen.
  5. Separating or Divorcing Parents – Divorced or separated parents might be more common for today’s teens than it was in generations past, but that doesn’t mean that the situation has no effect on their emotional well-being. The dissolution of the family unit or even the divorce of a parent and step-parent can be very upsetting for teens, often leading to depression.
  6. Heredity – Some kids are genetically predisposed to suffer from depression. If a parent or close relative has issues with depression, your child may simply be suffering from a cruel trick of heredity that makes him more susceptible.
  7. Family Financial Struggles – Your teenager may not be a breadwinner in your household or responsible for balancing the budget, but that doesn’t mean that she’s unaffected by a precarious financial situation within the family. Knowing that money is tight can be a very upsetting situation for teens, especially if they’re worried about the possibility of losing their home or the standard of living they’re accustomed to.
  8. Physical or Emotional Neglect – Though they may seem like fiercely independent beings that want or need nothing from their parents, teenagers still have emotional and physical needs for attention. The lack of parental attention on either level can lead to feelings of depression.
  9. Low Self-Esteem – Being a teenager isn’t easy on the self-esteem. From a changing body to the appearance of pimples, it can seem as if Mother Nature herself is conspiring against an adolescent to negatively affect her level of self-confidence. When the self-esteem level drops below a certain point, it’s not uncommon for teens to become depressed.
  10. Feelings of Helplessness – Knowing that he’s going to be affected on a personal level by things he has no control over can easily throw your teen into the downward spiral of depression. Feelings of helplessness and powerlessness often go hand in hand with the struggle with depression, and can make the existing condition even more severe.

It’s important that you speak to a medical professional or your teen’s doctor about any concerns you have regarding his emotional wellbeing, especially if you suspect that he’s suffering from depression. Depression is a very real affliction that requires treatment, and is not something that should be addressed without the assistance of a doctor. Your general practitioner or pediatrician should be able to help you determine the best course of action if your child is suffering from depression, including referrals to a specialist or medication.

Source: Babysitting.net

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Troubled Teens: Making the Difficult Decisions of Residential Treatment Centers

TroubledTeen5When it comes to sending your child to residential therapy it is probably one of the hardest decisions a parent can make.  It just doesn’t seem normal to send your teenager to a behavioral modification program.  Let’s face it – we all know that sending them to college is part of the circle of life, but no one prepares us for the potholes that some families face – residential treatment centers.

As the holidays approach a teenager’s behavior can sometimes escalate and this can leave a parent with a decision that they don’t want to make.  How can they send their child into a teen help program during this time of the year?

As a Parent Advocate and Parent Consultant, I share with parents that you have many years ahead of you to have many wonderful holidays together – however in some cases, it can mean saving your child’s life by removing them from not-so-safe situations – especially if they are involved in drug use or hanging out with unsavory groups of what they consider friends.  With the extra time off from school -it sometimes can add up to more time for trouble.

Are you struggling with your teenager?  Confused about what school or program is best for their needs?  I founded Parent’s Universal Resource Experts, Inc over a decade ago for parents that are at their wit’s end – after I was duped and my daughter abused at a program that mislead us.  Our experiences are only to help educate parents – there are more good programs than there are not so good one.  It is up to you to do your due diligence.

Remember, family is a priority – your child’s welfare comes first.  There will always be more holidays – let’s be sure your child’s safety and security are first and foremost.

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Teen Drinking: Alcohol Screening and Intervention for Youth

If you manage the health and well-being of 9- to 18-year-olds, this Guide is for you.

“Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide” is designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems. NIAAA developed the Guide and Pocket Guide in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, a team of underage drinking researchers and clinical specialists, and practicing health care professionals.

Why use this tool?

  • It can detect risk early: In contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems, this early detection tool aims to help you prevent alcohol-related problems in your patients before they start or address them at an early stage.
  • It’s empirically based: The screening questions and risk scale, developed through primary survey research, are powerful predictors of current and future negative consequences of alcohol use.
  • It’s fast and versatile: The screen consists of just two questions, which can be incorporated easily into patient interviews or pre-visit screening tools across the care spectrum, from annual exams to urgent care.
  • It’s the first tool to include friends’ drinking: The “friends” question will help you identify patients at earlier stages of alcohol involvement and target advice to include the important risk of friends’ drinking.


Download or order the Guide and pocket guide.

You may also be interested in related resources to support you, your patients, and their families

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Gay Teens and Bullying: A Deadly Combination

One in six students will be assaulted so badly at school that medical care will be required. If this were true of the overall student population, Americans would be up in arms and would not rest until the problem is solved. However, since the students being assaulted are homosexual, less attention is paid and fewer solutions are offered. It doesn’t take an online PhDto recognize that schools need to address this serious problem much more directly.

One in six lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered students faces these horrendous assaults based upon his or her perceived lifestyle. Sixty-one percent of LGBT students report not feeling safe at school and 44 percent report being physically harassed based solely upon their perceived sexual orientation. Comparatively, about 25 percent of heterosexual teens report being bullied at school.

Bullying in any form affects students’ ability to concentrate on schoolwork, but all too often LGBT students go to school fearing for their physical safety. This takes such a large emotional toll that sometimes students believe the only way to resolve the turmoil of their lives is to commit suicide.

Between July and September, 2010, four young men — Justin Aaber, age 15; Billy Lucas, age 15; Seth Walsh, age 13; and Asher Brown, age 13 — all committed suicide. These boys’ families said they had been harassed and bullied for being homosexual. Every year many young people like these kill themselves as a result of anti-homosexual bullying. The true number of victims may never be known because they often don’t feel comfortable confiding in adults about the harassment or the reason behind it.

Another tragedy occurred in September, 2011. Jamey Rodemeyer was a 14-year-old boy who’d been harassed at school and online for more than a year. Jamey had received some notoriety for posting a video on the It Gets Better website about how eventually, the harassment and intolerance for being a homosexual would stop, and that young people who are being bullied, particularly for their perceived sexuality, should not give up. Sadly, Jamey’s own stress proved too much for him to bear.
Since the school shootings of the mid-’90s at Columbine, Pearl, Mississippi, Jonesboro, and other places, schools around the nation have put additional emphasis on preventing bullying and stressing tolerance among students. However, the harm done by bullying related to sexual orientation often isn’t addressed in these lessons.

In a 2009 study by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight alliance, only 18 percent of teens who responded to a survey reported the anti-bullying programs in their schools addressed the issue of being bullied for perceived sexual orientation. Experts on bullying believe that if the specific behavior that needs to be addressed isn’t mentioned by name, then it probably won’t be changed. Schools want to remain neutral about sexuality issues for fear of public backlash, but so long as students aren’t explicitly told bullying on the basis of sexuality specifically is unacceptable, such harassment is likely to continue.

California’s anti-bullying program does address anti-homosexual behavior specifically. This law drew considerable fire and controversy because religious and other conservatives believed promoting tolerance of homosexuality is wrong and actually pushing a supposed gay agenda. Nevertheless, in July of 2011 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new bill that requires California schools to teach about the contributions of sexual minorities. Although not the direct objective of the bill, many anti-bullying advocates hope students will grow more tolerant of the LGBT community through awareness of their historical accomplishments.

Every day, students in America are being bullied because of their perceived sexual orientations. The result is all too often physical harm, whether from assaults by others or at suicidal students’ own hands. America still has a long way to go to ensure liberty and justice for all, even among schoolchildren.

Special contributor:  Elaine Hirsh – She is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose  just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.

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High School to College: Transitional Blues

High School to College, can be an emotional time.

Mental illness continues to mystify the mainstream, and students already stressed and anxious about classes, relationships, jobs and activities end up suffering from the stigmas just as much as the conditions themselves. But they don’t have to nurture their pain in quiet. More and more individuals (students or not), their loved ones and organizations are speaking up in favor of psychological help in all its forms.

The following list represents some of the most common conditions occurring on campuses globally, though by no means should it be considered a comprehensive glimpse at an issue far more broad and complex.

  1. Clinical Depression: At least 44% of college students have reported suffering from some degree of clinical depression — and the number only escalates from there as years tick past. Thanks to prevailing social stigmas regarding psychiatric help, only 23% of victims reported that they’d be comfortable discussing their treatment. Considering the amount of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and inter- and intrapersonal issues characterizing the college experience, it makes sense that an overwhelming number of students succumb to the symptoms. And, unfortunately, many of the common comorbid conditions and illnesses as well.
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Statistics from 2000 reveal that roughly 10% of college students received a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, but in all likelihood the numbers have jumped over the past 11 years. Females suffer from such conditions at a rate of five times more than their male peers, though the numbers may be skewed due to unfair social perspectives regarding men and mental illness. Panic attacks inextricably tie into GAD and related disorders, and the afflicted — regardless of whether or not they attend college — can experience them either spontaneously or based on an external or internal cue. Do keep in mind that not all anxiety disorders manifest themselves via panic attacks, nor are all panic attacks inherently indicative of an anxiety disorder.
  3. Anorexia Nervosa: At least 91% of female college students have attempted to control their weight via extreme dieting, though not all of these cases can be considered anorexia, of course. Bulimia is actually more prevalent on campus, although anorexia kills more of its victims. Between 10% and 25% of total individuals with this tragic eating disorder die either from the disease itself or complications stemming directly from it. As with other diagnoses of its type, anorexia rarely ravages alone. Not only can it exist side-by-side with bulimia, EDNOS or binge eating disorder, it oftentimes settles in as a result of depression, compulsions or severe anxiety. Lifetime statistics show that between 0.5% and 3.6% of American women suffer from this condition at some point in their lives. With eating disorders on the whole, one of the major associated tragedies is the recovery rate. Only around 60% of victims make a full recovery, with 20% making some headway and the remaining 20% not really coming around.
  4. Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia nervosa can either exist as comorbid with anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder or EDNOS or on its own, though almost always stems from a mood, anxiety or compulsive disorder rather than flying entirely solo. Roughly 19% of female college students suffer beneath the destructive diagnosis, although males do suffer from it as well. This compares with the 1.1% to 4.2% of women who struggle with bulimia at any point in their lifetime — not just the college years.
  5. Substance Abuse: College males admit to past-year drug abuse at a rate of 40%, compared to the 43% of their un-enrolled peers. Females represent an inverse, with 35% of students abusing drugs versus 33% for those outside of college. A total of 37.5% of full-time students and 38.5% of part-timers admitted to illicit substance abuse. Roughly half of the college demographic engages in destructive alcohol consumption, with 1,700 dying, 599,000 injured, 696,000 assaulted and 97,000 raped or sexually assaulted yearly as a direct result. The reasons for these behaviors are as many and varied as there are individuals to display them, although a desire to fit in, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are frequently to blame.
  6. Suicidal Thoughts and Actions: 7.5 out of every 100,000 college students commit suicide, with males between the ages of 20 and 24 standing as the most at-risk demographic. Graduate students are also more vulnerable, claiming 32% of these tragedies. At least 10.1% of total college kids admitted to seriously contemplating suicide, and 1.4% said they attempted it within the past year. The myriad emotional, mental and physical challenges of college life leave so many overwhelmed by hopelessness, stress and despair. Suicide often — but, of course, not always — represents the extreme end of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, compulsive disorders and other mental health conditions. And the general stigma surrounding the seeking of professional help, particularly amongst men, certainly doesn’t quell the problem any.
  7. Self-Injury: A 2006 study by Princeton and Cornell researchers revealed that 14% of male and 20% of female students repeatedly engaged in some sort of compulsive self-injury. Cutting, burning, and other dangerous releases provide a similar temporary comfort as drug and alcohol abuse. And, understandably, tend to correlate directly with anxiety, mood disorders, eating disorders, and even suicidal thoughts and behaviors, although single or repeated instances of physical, mental, and emotional abuse as well as lowered self-esteem can factor in at any time as well. 41% of college-aged self-injurers began hurting themselves between the ages of 17 and 22, although the national average is between 14 and 15. Unfortunately, only around 7% of these individuals seek psychological assistance for their torment.
  8. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD afflicts one out of every 40 adults, one out of every 100 children and 250 out of every 10,000 college students. Considering higher education already severely taxes kids without any preexisting mental health conditions, it might prove hellacious to those suffering from the compulsive disorder. If left untreated, sufferers run the risk of succumbing to depression and anxiety (both of which are oftentimes co-morbid with OCD), substance abuse, self-injury or even suicide.
  9. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: It’s difficult to really gauge just how many college students truly suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as its symptoms almost always overlap with depressive and anxiety issues — not to mention the fact that both often grow from it. The condition settles in after any number of triggering incidents, but military service and sexual assault (up to and including rape) tend to garner the most attention. Both also impact college students and college-aged as well. An estimated 11% to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are expected to return home with PTSD. At least 20% of college females reported being victimized by rape at some point in their life, and on a national level only 18% actually take it to the authorities. Women under the age of 30.8 (specifically, those in the 16 to 19 range) are the most vulnerable demographic to sexual assault and rape, comprising 80% of reported cases.
  10. Phobias: Whether mild and largely harmless or in need of professional intervention, specific phobias are incredibly common both on and off college campuses. Arachnophobia appears to be the most prevalent, afflicting a staggering 34% of the student populace. The only one with any real relevance or influence on college life was public speaking, which terrified 31%. Surprisingly enough, 18% of respondents said they thought they might greatly benefit from pursuing counseling or other form of psychological assistance.

Source:  Accredited Online Colleges

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens.

Teen Suicide: 5 Warnings Parents Should Know

Especially during the hoiday time we will hear more about suicides.  Whether it is an adult or teens, suicide it forever and the devastation of those that are left behind can be overwhelming.

Here are 5 things you need to know about teen suicide:

1. No Other Escape:  Teenagers commit or attempt to commit suicide for many different reasons. Often teens find routine problems overwhelming and see no possible positive outcome. Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend is devastating to some and problems at home such as parents’ divorce, the death of a family member or abuse can also lead to thoughts of suicide. Depression in teens leads to a focus on the negative and causes teens to emphasize their failures or perceived shortcomings. When a teen sees no way out of a difficult situation, death can seem like the only escape.
2. Be There for Support:  Kids who have someone they trust to share their suicidal thoughts with are at a lower risk of acting on them than those who feel isolated. Parents, friends, physicians and school counselors can all play a role in offering troubled teens a place to go for comfort and reassurance. When a teen mentions suicide as a seemingly viable option, she is asking for help. Express support for the teen by getting her the help she needs. After you make an appointment with a psychiatrist to evaluate the teen and assess the risk of suicide, she may decline the help and say that she no longer feels the same way. However, she should still see a professional. If she refuses to keep the appointment, the support person should go and get more information about how to help the teen. Note that thoughts of suicide can come and go for teenagers, so the risk is seldom suddenly just gone.
3. Things to Watch for : There are some warning signs people can look for to determine if a teenager is contemplating suicide. When a teen is depressed for an extended period of time then suddenly becomes carefree, pay attention. People who have made the decision to kill themselves often feel relieved at the prospect of having a way out, like a heavy burden is lifted. Listen to their words. Kids often say that they are worthless, better off dead, a terrible person or that they are going away when suicide is on their mind. They lose interest in activities that once held great importance and give away items that mean a great deal to them.
4. Speak up:  Caregivers or friends of troubled teenagers shouldn’t be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions about suicide. If someone believes that suicide is a possibility, they should find out if the teen has thoughts about killing himself and if he has plans to carry out those thoughts. Help from a professional is warranted anytime someone has persistent concerns about a teen. A family physician can offer a starting point for those seeking professional help and hospitals can provide a list of local psychiatrists.

5. Lock ’em up: Guns are the most common method teens use to commit suicide. Everyone should prevent children’s access to guns by locking them in a separate area from ammunition.

Source: LIVESTRONG

In Florida and Broward County we have Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention.  Learn more – be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Visit www.helpyourteens.com for more information on residential therapy if you suspect your teen needs help.

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Sue Scheff: Teen Depression – Digging Your Way Out

Depression, sadness, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, isolation, fear, etc.  Are you depressed?  Do you know someone that is suffering with depression?  Do you suspect your teenager may have signs of clinical depression? 

During today’s economy, many parents are struggling financially, maybe even lost their jobs or homes.  Teenagers are going through a turbulent time as bullying and school violence climbs.  Peer pressure is common as teens find it difficult to keep up with what they believe are the cool groups.

Guide to Healthcare Schools has developed a comprehensive list of depression resources on the Internet.  They have asked me to share this extensive research in hopes that it will help people understand the signs of depression, the types of depression as well as some treatment directories.

Today, depression is one of the leading disorders facing adults, teens, and children, and while an increasing number of people seek help, an even larger contingency of the population suffer in silence.

Recovering from depression is a long and treacherous rode, often requiring the treatment of underlying causes of depression as opposed to merely a chemical imbalance.

Of course, the first step to recovering from depression is recognizing that you have a problem. The following list of articles and statistics are designed to help you learn more about what depression is, the symptoms of depression, how to seek help, and how to begin to recover.

Statistics on Depression in the United States

The following statistics were gathered by PBS .

  • Depression affects 15 million American adults, which is roughly 8% of the U.S. population.
  • Bipolar disorder or manic depression affects a staggering 6 million American adults. This is roughly 3% of the population.
  • Women are twice as likely to develop depression as men.
  • 80% of people who experience depression do not receive any sort of treatment.
  • 80-90% of people who experience serious depression are unemployed.
  • 90% of people who commit suicide have some sort of diagnosable mental illness.
  • Scientists predict that by the year 2020 depression will be the 2nd most prevalent health problem in the world.

Read the entire research and resourcesclick here.

Need help in Broward County?  Visit Mental Health Association of Broward County.

Be an educated parent, you will have a healthier family. 

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