The Stormy Passage to Adulthood
Effective adolescent depression treatment can make the difference between life and death a teenager in need of help. In today's world the pressures that teens and pre-teens face are immense. Teen suicides account for the third leading cause of death among young people in this country. No community is immune to this trend. Recent statistics show that teen suicide attempts are at an all time high. This year more than 5000 teens will commit suicide in America....
Often parents are unconscious of the many ways in which they fail to see what is really going on with their children. Despite the best of intentions, they begin to lose their sense of connection with their child as he or she develops into adolescence. In our busy lives where the demands of our careers and our kid's complicated schedules must be balanced, parents often lose sight of their relationship with their children. Adolescent depression treatment can help you and your family to find your lost connection and mutual respect.
The children of this era are growing up in a society very unlike any we have known before. The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. There are many complicated factors influencing our children's development -- including the media, the changing socio-economic atmosphere, high divorce rates, violence, availability of drugs, and intense social and academic pressures in the schools. There is little room in our mainstream educational system for the fostering of creative pursuits and free thinking. Often it is the most creative kids who experience the greatest stress and turmoil because their natural gifts, and their sensitivity is not nurtured. Our kids are falling victim not only to depression and suicide, but to a host of anxiety and stress-related disorders.
Adolescence is the most intense and turbulent time in a person's life. Rapid changes occur on all levels. Personal identity shifts as self images are relinquished and new ones adopted. It is a time of developing independence and a sense of separateness from one's parents. Great internal conflict occurs as this passage is attempted. Even in the most well balanced family, teens may go through periods of personal crisis, low-self esteem, depression, feelings of shame, inadequacy, fear, loneliness, and rage.
In my experiences counseling children and teens in a variety of settings, I have witnessed the aftermath of such crises. I've worked with hundreds of teens from every type of background who have become so confused, angry, or overwhelmed by their emotions that they have lost their ability to cope with life. Many of these kids had attempted suicide, some had attempted several times without their parents ever knowing.
While many of these cases were dramatic and highly visible, many more teens suffer silently without anyone suspecting the inner torment that they are experiencing. An outward appearance of success and popularity is not an indication that a child is not in emotional pain or confusion.
It is important to be aware that most clinical studies demonstrate no statistically significant difference between antidepressant medications, and a placebo (sugar pill), for teens with mild to moderate depression. And antidepressants can actually cause suicidal behavior in teens, especially when the root problem is ignored, and they do not receive the real care and attention they need. Kids need to talk to a trusted adult and sort out their feelings and their thoughts in a safe way. A pill will never accomplish this.
CAUTION: If your child or teenager is experiencing depression and you feel it necessary to seek an evaluation for medication, please be cautious about starting an anti-depressant and learn the facts about safe adolescent depression treatment. Many antidepressants can trigger mania or rapid cycling moods in a child who has the predisposition for Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder is often invisible, showing up only in the form of symptoms of depression until a major stressor, or the wrong chemical or medication triggers it. Your well intentioned doctor may accidentally do great harm by not considering a Bipolar Diagnosis before prescribing medication.
A large percentage of children with serious depression are later diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
In one survey of over 2,500 families of children with depression, 45% of respondents reported that their children who had taken antidepressants first became suicidal after taking the drugs, ranging from within 24 hours to more than six months, possibly revealing an "underlying" Bipolar Disorder. At one time there was info on this survey and testimony to the FDA by concerned parents on the site BPKids.org. However that page has disappeared.
It is important to understand that bipolar disorder is a very complex illness with a wide range of variation and severity. It is a neurologically based problem, but is best treated with a full range of approaches, because there are a number of different factors which can worsen or improve the condition (including nutrition, elimination of food allergies, family dynamics, undetected or unresolved emotional traumas).
I offer adolescent depression treatment which may include individual therapy as well as family therapy and coaching or therapy for parents. My work with parents can assist those who are looking for ways to improve their relationships with their kids and establish a greater connection and mutual respect. I can also be of assistance if you or your child is in crisis, feeling out of control or experiencing thoughts of suicide.
We have as much to learn from our children as they do from us. If you are in need of some support and guidance in your role as a parent, please give me a call. I will discuss your situation with you by phone and let you know if I feel adolescent depression treatment may be of assistance.
Learn more about the process of psychotherapy for adolescent depression treatment.
Ben Schwarcz, MA, MFT
509 7th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
"Imagine yourself as a child.
There was someone present there
your parents never knew,
a mystery they could not fathom.
Look at your children closely.
You will never know the mystery of their being.
Can you love them still?"
from The Parent's Tao Te Ching
Adolescent depression treatment should always include a physical evaluation by a licensed medical doctor, in order to rule out possible underlying physical problems.
Call Ben Schwarcz, MFT for more information about adolescent depression treatment and bipolar disorder.