Depression is a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and backgrounds, including teenage boys. In recent years, speaking about this important topic has become more common, but it’s important to realize that depression in teen boys is different than for teenage girls, and vice versa. Recognizing the warning signs of depression in a friend or family member can be life-saving, and the right information will empower you to help yourself and others.
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What Does Depression In Teens Look Like?
In general, depression symptoms in teens can manifest as mood swings, oversleeping, and experiencing low energy. The symptoms will vary from person to person and can also include experiencing feelings of hopelessness, hypersensitivity, and losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Some risk factors for depression include social isolation and a family history of depression or other mental health disorders. Mental stress in teens is a common trigger for depression, which can be brought on by high expectations at home or school. Here are some common causes of depression:
- Mental stress and pressure
- Being bullied at school
- Divorce or family conflict
- Childhood trauma
- Loss of a loved one
- Alcohol or drug use
BasePoint Teen Program
How Does Depression Differ For Boys?
Symptoms of depression in teen boys often include increased aggression, angry outbursts, sleep disturbances, and difficulty concentrating. Historically, depression has been considered a feminine issue that affects girls and women, creating an unfair stigma for boys and men who may be experiencing the same challenges. Boys are often expected to maintain a facade of toughness and not express their feelings, making it less likely that they will seek help if they are struggling emotionally.
Effective Treatments For Teen Depression
A wide range of effective treatments is available for teen depression, ranging from therapy to alternative medicine to making lifestyle changes. In some cases, being prescribed the right antidepressants can be of great help. Teen treatment for depression requires a specialized approach, as no one size fits all treatment program can address mental health disorders.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven to be effective in treating teen depression. CBT techniques help people recognize the connection between their thoughts, actions, and feelings. By creating more awareness in the present moment with the help of a therapist, teenagers can gain clarity about why they have been making certain choices and become empowered to create new habits.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also include learning new skills such as goal setting, time management, and emotional regulation techniques. As your teen gains vital life skills and develops a solution-oriented mindset, they can make leaps and bounds in creating healthy patterns that support their mental health and wellbeing.
Sometimes a case of depression can be severe enough that it poses a risk to a teen’s safety and wellbeing. In these situations, a partial hospitalization treatment program can manage symptoms such as suicidal feelings and help the individual regulate their emotions. A partial hospitalization program may include being prescribed anxiety and depression medication by a psychiatrist along with attending therapy sessions during the day. Partial hospitalization treatment programs are tailored to an individual’s needs and are designed to be age-appropriate in terms of group counseling and therapy sessions.
Sometimes depression and anxiety medication is needed to help regulate symptoms of depression in teens that other treatments aren’t assisting with. This medication can be life-saving, enabling teens to function and participate in daily life.
You Can Help Your Teen Boy At Home
As a parent or family member, you have a great deal of influence over your teen’s wellbeing. Perhaps your son isn’t getting enough sunshine or would benefit from eating more nutritious meals and snacks. In addition to providing a safe and loving home environment, here are some healthy family activities to enjoy:
- Take a family walk after dinner or on the weekends
- Prepare meals together as a family, getting everyone involved with the fun, creative aspects of cooking
- Have a designated device-free time on school nights to play a game or work on creative projects as a family
How We Can Help You
Untreated depression poses a serious risk to the health and wellbeing of the people you love and care about. Teen depression doesn’t go away on its own, and can sometimes get worse as time passes. If your teen boy is struggling with depression, you are not alone. As compassionate mental health professionals, we understand how important this issue is, and how difficult it may be to seek help for depression in the first place. If you would like help with treating teen depression or other mood disorders, contact us today.