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Teen Depression Treatment | Top 21 Questions About Adolescent Depression Treatment Options

May 28, 2022

Table of Contents

Depression In Teens


What is teen depression?

Teen depression involves intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and anger that last over a long period of time.

These feelings can make it difficult to complete daily functions and tasks. They can also make it hard to concentrate, focus, or find motivation.

Teen depression is a serious mental illness. If it goes without treatment, it can cause symptoms to worsen and make it difficult to enjoy life.

Teens deal with a lot when it comes to school, sports, friends, families, jobs, and other responsibilities. Often, depression can go overlooked because some symptoms are normal feelings and behaviors that teens experience.

If you suspect you or a loved one could have depression, it is important to reach out to a trusted adult and receive professional help.

A trusted adult could be anyone from a parent, teacher, counselor, or anyone you feel comfortable talking to.

Teen depression can commonly co-occur with substance abuse. Some teens may turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with difficult feelings. By doing so, each disorder can begin to worsen the symptoms of the other, even if it provides temporary relief.

Teen depression is a common and treatable mental illness.

According to the NIH, in 2020, about 2.9 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment in the past year.

Is depression a mood or personality disorder?

Mood disorders involve consistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in daily activities, and a fluctuation between extreme feelings of happiness and extreme feelings of sadness.

According to MentalHealth.gov, depression is one of the most common mood disorders, along with bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder.

Personality disorders involve patterns of behavior, feelings, and thinking that can interfere with someone’s daily life and cause problems at work, school, and personal or social relationships.

Common personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

What helps teenage mental health?

Talking to a trusted adult can help teens get the support and the help they need.

Mental health issues can feel isolating and difficult to handle on your own. Often, teens may not know how to communicate their feelings and suppress them until they get worse.

Having a strong support network makes all the difference in treating teen mental health illnesses.

Age-specific treatment involves building a supportive peer network and also involves the whole family.

Spending quality time with family and friends can provide a healthy distraction from difficult feelings and give people a chance to be open and communicative.

Sometimes, people need a reminder that they are not alone and have people who care for them.

Staying active and engaging in exercise is essential for physical and mental well-being. Being outside while doing these things can help relieve stress and give you a breath of fresh air.

By engaging in physical activity, your brain releases chemicals, such as endorphins, which can help you feel better.

Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and eating healthy foods can also impact your mental health.

Many teenagers may struggle with a lack of sleep due to homework, stress, video games, and social media.

A lack of sleep can cause issues in teens related to concentration, poor grades, and worsened anxiety or depression.

According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 49.5 percent of adolescents ages 13 to 18 had any mental disorder.

Mental disorders are common in teens and young adults, which is why it is so important to reach out and get support.

The Symptoms Of Teen Depression

What are the symptoms of depression specifically in teenagers?

Symptoms of depression in teens may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness
  • Anger or irritability
  • Little or no interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Weight changes
  • Changes in sleep patterns, getting too little or sleeping much more than usual
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble with memory
  • Engaging in self-harm or having suicidal thoughts

If you or a loved one is experiencing self-harm or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255, or call 911.

What is the leading cause of depression in teens?

According to MedlinePlus, teen depression can be caused by several different factors. This can include; genetics, brain biology, hormones, and traumatic or stressful life events.

Why are teens more prone to depression and anxiety?

The teen brain is going through major development.

Certain parts of the brain are responsible for functions such as; impulse control, decision making, planning, and prioritizing.

Because these skills are still developing in teens and young adults, it can make them more likely to engage in risky behaviors and make them more vulnerable to stress.

Anxiety and depression are both stress-related mental disorders.

Teens also need a lot of sleep, and many don’t get a sufficient amount.

A lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating, increased impulsivity, and an increase in irritability and depression.

Treatment Options for Teen Depression

What are the Sandstone Care Treatment Options for Young Adults with Depression?

Sandstone Care provides different types of treatment options for young adults with mental health issues like depression.

Treatment can include:

  • Teen or Young Adult Residential

Residential treatment offers a home-like environment for young people to receive treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma, substance use, and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Locations: Maryland & Colorado

  • Outpatient Program

Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, treat substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders.

During IOP, individuals will attend group therapy sessions, individual counseling, life skill classes, and support groups.

Locations: Maryland & Colorado

  • Young Adult Day Treatment

Young Adult Day treatment, also known as Partial Hospitalization (PHP), can help young adults overcome substance abuse, addiction, and mental health issues.

Day treatment uses various therapeutic methods to stabilize, understand, and heal from mental health struggles and addiction.

Locations: Colorado & Maryland

  • Teen Afterschool IOP

Teen Afterschool IOP and virtual IOP offer virtually the same things as in-person IOP but can be helpful for those who need to keep up with school, don’t live near a treatment center, or have health problems that could impact treatment.

Locations: Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, and Online



What are the different kinds of teen depression treatments?

Teen depression treatment typically involves psychotherapy or medicine, or both.

Examples of talk therapy include cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical-behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy.


How long does it take to treat teen depression?

The amount of time it takes to treat teen depression is unique to each individual.

What Kind Of Depression Treatment Works Best For Adolescents?

What is the most effective treatment for adolescent depression?

Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, is commonly prescribed for teen and adolescent depression.

Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, involves seeing a therapist, a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor. Talk therapy typically happens with a licensed, trained mental health professional in an individual or group setting.

Talk therapy allows teens and young adults to share their emotions and feelings. The NIH explains how talk therapy helps people identify and change troubling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Sometimes, a doctor will prescribe medication along with therapy.

There are a few antidepressants that have been studied and proved to help teens.

How is depression treatment designed specifically for teens?

Depression treatment at Sandstone Care is designed specifically for teens by involving family therapy, fun and experiential treatment, vocational and academic support, co-occurring disorder treatment, and establishing a strong support network.

Each person’s treatment is individualized to fit their own needs.

It is understood that the causes of depression and mental health disorders are unique to each teen. With that being said, treatment is designed specifically for each person.

What is the goal of teenage depression treatments?

The goal of teenage depression treatments is to help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression so that life can become more enjoyable.

Treatment helps teens identify problems, learn healthy coping mechanisms and skills, and apply them to the “real world.”

Teenage depression treatment aims to help teens and their family members heal.

Types of Therapy Treatments

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT can help teens and young adults identify negative thoughts and behaviors and change them.

CBT focuses on building healthy coping mechanisms and learning new skills and techniques.

CBT can be used for different mental health problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders, and other mental health problems.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

IPT focuses on improving relationships.

IPT can be helpful for depression as it helps individuals understand and figure out relationships that may have an impact on their depression.

IPT may also help teens, and young adults explore issues that may be worsening their depression, like major life changes.

Family Therapy

Family involvement is an integral part of treatment for depression in teens and young adults.

When one person struggles with mental health issues or a substance use disorder, the whole family is affected.

Through family therapy, each individual can share their feelings and experiences. The whole family can talk about how they’ve been affected.

Family therapy can provide a safe space to communicate and work through problems.

Family therapy can also provide young adults and their families with healthy problem-solving skills and coping mechanisms to support and understand one another.


Group Therapy

Group therapy involves treatment for multiple individuals from one or more health care providers.

Group therapy can be effective in treating mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and ADHD.

Through group therapy, teens and young adults can share and learn from each other’s experiences.

Depression can feel very lonely, and group therapy can help remind people that they are not alone and that other people are going through similar things.

Group therapy can play a role in contributing to a strong support system.

Vocational Support

At Sandstone Care, academic and vocational support are essential components of teen and young adult depression treatment.

Stress related to school, jobs, and other responsibilities can contribute to the development or worsening of symptoms of depression.

Additionally, if someone is struggling with depression, it can have a negative impact on their performance at work or school, making it difficult to get through everyday life.

Academic and vocational support is an integral part of the treatment process for depression in young adults and teens.

By meeting individuals where they are at and helping them grow and succeed, young people can improve their overall well-being and live healthy and happy lives.

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FAQ Section

What Is A Common Antidepressant For Teens?

There are a few antidepressants that may be prescribed for teen depression.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed to treat depression.

According to the NIH, fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline, and escitalopram are common antidepressants for adolescents.

How Can I Help My Teen With Mood Swings?

If your teen is experiencing mood swings, you can start by understanding and recognizing what may be going on in their life.

Try not to assume things or automatically try to discipline them. This may worsen the situation and make your teen feel bad.

Opening up communication by spending quality time with your teen or checking in on them can show that you care and are there for them. It can also help you to learn more about them.

By talking with your teen, you can offer help, teach them new things, and reach out for professional support if needed.

On the other hand, sometimes teens are searching for more independence, so giving them space can allow them to have privacy and time to themselves. You can always let them know that you are there when they are ready and comfortable to come to you.

You can also encourage healthy habits by being a role model and promoting good eating and sleeping habits.

Parents can teach their teens to engage in healthy activities like going outside, taking care of themselves, and spending time with their family and friends.


How Do I Know If My Teenager Is Mentally Ill?

General warning signs in teens and young adults with mental illness can include:

  • Excessive worry, fear, or sadness
  • Problems concentrating or learning
  • Irritability or anger
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Isolating themselves or avoiding social situations
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Intense concern over appearance
  • Unexplainable health problems
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts

Some warning signs of mental illness in young adults can also be normal behavior that comes along with transitioning into adulthood.

If you suspect your teen is mentally ill, it is best to reach out to professional help to get a proper diagnosis.

How Can I Find Teen Depression Treatment Near Me?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association has treatment locators to help you find mental health treatment near you.

Sandstone Care provides mental health and teen depression treatment in Colorado, Virginia, and Maryland.

Sandstone Care also offers a virtual IOP program across Colorado and Maryland locations.

Can Teen Depression Be Cured?

There is no cure for depression; however, many different treatments are available to help alleviate symptoms and lessen their impact on everyday life.


What Are Natural Remedies For Anxiety And Depression?

One natural remedy for anxiety and depression is getting physical exercise or simply moving your body.

Exercising releases endorphins, which can act as natural antidepressants.

Practicing healthy eating habits can also help anxiety and depression.

Keeping your blood sugar leveled can help manage mood swings, and some foods can also boost your serotonin naturally.

You can also avoid caffeine and other substances, which can contribute to symptoms of anxiety and make you feel worse.

Should A Teenager Take Prozac Or Other Antidepressants?

It is important to consult with your doctor on whether or not your teen should take Prozac or other antidepressant medications.

Medication and treatment work differently for everyone, so what works for one person may not work for another.

Is Depression A Serious Mental Illness?

Yes, depression is a serious mental illness.

The longer it goes without treatment, the worst it can get.

Depression is often overlooked in teens and young adults because of the misconception that it is just a phase or that “everyone gets sad sometimes.”

If a teen or young adult is sad in general and not just in specific situations, and it has been negatively impacting their everyday life for a long period of time, it is important to reach out for professional help.


Teenage depression is a common and treatable mental illness. Talk therapy and medications are effective in teen depression treatment. Sandstone Care is here to support teens and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Call (888) 850-1890.

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