teen depression
Photo credit: flickr user – ryan melaugh

Research presented at the annual Psychopharmacology Update at the Nevada Psychiatric Association, in early February 2015, gave more insight into successful treatment of teen depression.

Including the family in treatment for teen depression, while combining both cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-depressant medications, could be the most effective plan for successful remission.

This idea presented by Karen Dineen Wagner, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas in Galveston, was detailed in the article, “Parents are key in treating child, adolescent depression,” in Family Practice News.

Excessive rates of teen depression

One in five adolescents face depression to some degree, with one in 10 teens experiencing severe depressive moods. If not treated at a young age, depression can become worse and result in suicidal ideation. Even if dormant, depression can resurface at any point during adult life.

Teen depression is familial

If an adolescent’s parents have struggled with depression at any point in their life, it is likely their child will at some point experience the same. Dr. Wagner goes further by saying that if parents are currently experiencing depression, it is likely depression in the teen will not successfully be treated.

If the parents were depressed, treatment didn’t work. – Dr. Karen Dineen Wagner

Using all available resources

There are only two anti-depressants currently approved to be effective in treating teen depression. In the article, Dr. Wagner suggests a few off-label medications that might be helpful. She advises psychiatrists to be aware of and how best to prescribe the two prescriptions.
Though cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to have positive effects on depression, she advises not to stick to CBT alone. Dr. Wagner “cited a study showing that after 12 weeks, adolescents treated with fluoxetine (an anti-depressant approved for teens) in combination with CBT achieved a 73 percent response rate, whereas CBT only had a 48 percent rate.”

Family involvement in treatment is key

If a teen’s environment does not change, it will also be difficult for their thoughts and emotions to change. During and after treatment, a teen desperately needs the support from their loved ones. Having the family involved in therapy for teen depression gives the opportunity for the family to work through tensions and a lack of communication that could be negatively effecting all parties.
In many cases, parents have felt overwhelmed and exasperated after struggling with their troubled teen. Family therapy provides a chance for parents and siblings to better understand depression. By learning the triggers and symptoms, along with good coping skills, the family can provide a healthy environment for the teen as he or she returns home.

Different treatments work for different teens

blueFire Wilderness Therapy treats every teen as an individual, using a qualified team of therapists and staff to create a specialized treatment plan for your son or daughter. Our goal is to provide the greatest opportunity for lasting change and build a more positive relationship between teen and family.
To learn more, call us at 844-413-1999.


Previous reading
The Fine Line Between Healthy Eating and Child Eating Disorders
Next reading
Six-Man Canoe Journey Reinforces Outdoor Adventure Therapy Benefits