Counseling for Teen Depression in the Katy and Houston Area
You've notice a shift in your teens mood. Your teen doesn't seem to have the same energy level that they used to have plus they just don't look happy any more.
You ask your teen if they are okay and their response is that they are "just tired" or "I'm fine". You know that there is something deeper they are struggling with.
You're a teen yourself and are finding that more days than not, you are sad and depressed. You may have tearful days or days where you feel like crying and just want the sadness to go away and you be happy again.
You want to talk to your parents about your depression but may not know just what to say. Feelings of hopelessness settle in and it scares you.
You've talked with your parents about how depressed you feel. Your parents have been trying to help you lift your mood but nothing is helping. You start to feel like something is wrong with you, that you're broken, as you see other teens who appear to be happy. You wish that could be you.
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Teen Depression on the Rise
Parents and teens, you are not alone in this fight with teen depression. We are seeing a significant increase in teen depression. Many more teens and families are coming to our office to seek counseling for teen depression. Teens are trying to find ways to recover their:
drive and motivation
It is difficult as a parent, and even more so for the teen, to have this heavy weight and burden ever present. Teen depression is holding them back from enjoying the things they used to enjoy:
hanging out with friends
being with family members
motivation to succeed in school
getting up in the morning to attend school, and
motivation to work
For the past 10+ years, teen depression has skyrocketed. The National Institute of Mental Health discovered that in 2007, 8% of teens (2 million) reported having at least one major depressive episode in the last year. In 2017, that number jumped to 13% (3.2 million).
It has become such a pervasive problem that it has been recommended by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force that physicians and other primary care providers, screen patients who are between the ages of 12-18 for Major Depressive Disorder. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also revised their guidelines to include annual screenings for depression for preteens, teens, and young adults (ages 10-21).
Signs and Symptoms Your Teen May Need a Counselor for Teen Depression
Some common signs and symptoms that your teen is experiencing teen depression are:
Your teen experiences feelings of sadness or hopelessness
You're finding that your teen's school performance/attendance has declined
Your teen is experiencing unexplained body aches
Your teen's interest in things they used to find enjoyable has decreased
Your teen ins not hanging out with friends as much as they used to
You've noticed significant weight loss or weight gain in your teen
You've notice that your teen is sleeping too much or not being able to get enough sleep
Lethargy (more so than typical teen sluggishness)
Your teen's energy level seems to have dropped
You may observe or your teen may report feelings of worthlessness, excessive/inappropriate guilt, or shame
Your teen tells you or you have observed that they has been having difficulty concentrating
You discover or your teen informs you that they have been having thoughts of death or dying or suicidal ideation, plan, or attempt
You discover or your teen informs you that they have engaged in self harm behavior (e.g., cutting, scratching, biting, burning, oneself)
Teen Depression vs. Adult Depression
Teen depression can look different than adult depression. Teens and adults are in two very different developmental stages. The teen's brain is still developing whereas the adult brain has 'completed' development.
The last area of the brain to finish developing is the frontal and prefrontal cortex. These areas of the brain help regulate emotion and mood. Some of the differences in signs and symptoms of teen depression compared to adult depression are:
Your teen is becoming, or is persistently more, angry or irritable. In teens more so than adults, teen depression can come in the form of anger/irritability.
It can be difficult for a teen (and many adults) who hasn't experienced teen depression to understand what they are experiencing. When you add the stressors, challenges, hormones and other factors that are in a teen's life, anger and irritability may be a result when experiencing teen depression.
Teens, when depressed, will often choose to isolate themselves or pull away from family members while maintaining relationships with their friends. However, over time, they may also choose to pull away from being with friends.
This should be a warning signs for many parents as during the teen years, being with friends is a significant drive in adolescence. Choosing to pull away from being with friends is typically not something teens will do.
Sensitivity to Criticism
Teen depression by it's nature attacks one's sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Criticism that your teen used to accept now becomes intolerable, even if it doesn't come in the form of criticism.
Asking the teen if they need help with homework, a project they are working on, a chore that you have given them, may feel to them a criticism. Teen depression tends to cause people to think negatively about themselves. Teens with depression can also be hypersensitive to anything that mirrors, resembles, or may look like criticism.
It's not an enjoyable place to be in for the teen or those around them and the teen would not stay in depression if they could help it.
Physical (Somatic) Complaints Such as Headaches, Stomach Aches, etc.
The word 'soma' is derived from Latin meaning 'the body'. Somatic complaints are those complaints of body aches or illness.
There is a strong link to mind and body where we express emotions unconsciously through our body. It is not uncommon in teen depression, where teens may complain of more body ailments. Complaints of frequent headaches, stomach aches, muscle tightness, are not uncommon.
These physical complaints may persist over time. Parents will take their teens to the doctor to help resolve the physical complaints.
With teen depression, the resolution may not come from a medical doctor as there may be nothing wrong physically. The physical complaints might be a direct result of teen depression (or teen anxiety).
Therapy for Teen Depression Can Help Remove the Weight of Teen Depression
Teen depression is on the rise in the United States. Teen depression is also one of the more researched struggles that teens face today.
As a result, there are very effective depression counseling approaches for teen depression. The following are three therapy approaches that we utilize at Katy Teen & Family Counseling for for therapy for teen depression:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) For Teen Depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the more effective talk therapy approaches for therapy for teen depression. CBT is also the most widely researched therapy for teen depression. CBT works to identify the negative thoughts, the feeling, and the behavior (depression) that the thoughts and feelings evoke.
The goal of CBT is to interrupt this thought-feeling-behavior (depression) cycle. This is done by challenging negative thoughts or assumptions with facts and evidence. We can then help the teen replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. This can help the teen heal the depression the teen is experiencing.
Neurofeedback Therapy for Teen Depression
Neurofeedback therapy for teen depression is an effective, enjoyable, and fun, therapeutic approach. Neurofeedback measures the way the brain performs in helping to treat teen depression.
We do this using a cap that has 19 sensors embedded in the cap to measure brainwave activity. Neurofeedback records the brain's performance and creates a brain map. This brain map will identify the source of depression in the brain through a 3-D image of the teen's brain.
Neurofeedback functions much like a video game. However, there are no controllers for this video game. To play this video game, the teen learns to regulate the way their brain performs to play the game. As the teen does so, they learn to change the brain from a depressed state to a non-depressed state.
A teen with teen depression may start to see improvements in as few as 15 sessions. Long term improvements in teen depression take on average 40 sessions.
Using sophisticated, state of the art software, Neurofeedback therapy can help significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms of teen depression.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for Teen Depression
For some teens, teen depression may have it's roots in a traumatic event. A traumatic event is and event that is highly emotionally charged or that overwhelms the emotional safety system.
There are those traumatic events that anyone would identify as traumatic. Then, there are traumatic events that to the casual observer, may not seem traumatic. This is where the complexity of trauma lies.
As parents, some experiences the teen may have may look uneventful (not traumatic). Yet, we all have different emotional tolerance levels.
What may not be traumatic for one may be traumatic for another. It can be challenging to identify from the outside what another would experience as traumatic.
EMDR therapy has shown to be effective in treating teen depression. EMDR helps teens process memories, negative thoughts, and the physical symptoms of teen depression.
EMDR therapy replicates the natural processing our mind engages in during the phase of sleep where we engage in Rapid Eye Movement (REM). During REM sleep, the brain is sorting and processing the information from the day. Thoughts, images, feelings, experiences, memories, are sorted and processed in a healthy way.
For teens who may have experienced a traumatic event, the trauma does not get processed. Due to it's emotional charge, it gets lodged in the fight, flight, or freeze area of our brain. As the trauma does not get processed, the traumatic event remains and influences thought, emotion and behavior.
EMDR therapy helps the traumatic event be processed to an adaptive neural network. Once this occurs, the feelings associated with that traumatic event are significantly reduced or eliminated. This results in the teen recovering their happiness, motivation, and drive for living life to the fullest!
Are There Obstacles in Your Way Which Prevent You From Starting Counseling for Teen Depression?
We want to help you remove any obstacles or barriers which may prevent you from starting your healing journey in therapy for teen depression. You truly do not need to live with this heavy burden that is ever present in your life. Some of the common obstacles that teens and parents experience are as follows:
Maybe It's Just a Phase and It Will Pass
Sometimes, depression is due to a specific event. For example, the passing of someone close to the teen. In these cases, the depression is usually temporary.
But, if your teen is depressed and it's not related to a specific event, it is something they typically do not grow out of. The longer teen depression is left untreated, the more difficult it becomes to treat.
The sooner teens begin therapy for teen depression, the better results they will see. Beginning therapy for teen depression early will likely result in long term outcomes.
We Just Don't Have the Time to Participate in Counseling For Teen Depression
This is a very genuine concern for many teens and families. Life for today's teen and their family are extremely busy with productive activities.
It helps that we are conveniently located right off of 99 and I-10. A short drive in Katy or from Houston and the surrounding areas.
A therapy session for teen depression typically takes an hour and with the drive back we are looking at 1 and a half hours once a week.
Time is a precious commodity which is why we work evening and Saturday hours. We also provide in-home counseling for teen depression to help increase the convenience for your teen and family.
I Don't Want my Teen to Be Labeled With a Diagnosis That Will Follow Them Throughout Life in Their Medical Record
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling we do not take insurance. As a result, we are not required to enter a psychiatric diagnosis(ses) into your teen's record.
Our therapy for teen depression is strictly confidential and we do not share your information with insurance companies, billing companies, or any other 3rd party.
Begin Teen Counseling for Teen Depression at Katy Teen & Family Counseling:
Katy, Tx & Houston
You don't have to carry the weight and burden of teen depression any longer. Counseling for teen depression can help. You can lift that burden of teen depression, unpack it, and help you move on feeling lighter, happier, and excited for what the future holds for you.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling is conveniently located just off of I-10 and 99. It is very easy to get to for those who live in Katy. And for those in Houston and the surrounding area, it's only a short drive away. Our caring therapists who specialize in teen counseling and family therapy are here for you. Therapy for teen depression in Katy Texas is here! To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling today
Meet with our experts in teen counseling who have specialized in working with teens
Start your journey toward recovering your happiness and hope for the future. You will be glad you did and that you didn't wait any longer.
Other Teen Therapy Services Provided by Katy Teen & Family Counseling:
Katy, Tx & Houston
While we specialize in treating gifted teens and talented teen athletes at Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we also specialize in other emotional and behavioral life struggles and provide the following approaches such as:
Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
Teen Anxiety Treatment
Teen Therapy for Self-harm
Teen Therapy for Self-esteem and Self-worth
Teen Anger Management Treatment
In the Meantime: Suggestions for Parents in Supporting Your Teen Who Struggles With Teen Depression
As a parent myself of two teen boys, I understand the hurt when we see our kids hurting. I also understand that feeling of powerlessness we can feel at times. We just want the hurt to go away for our teens and to see them happy.
The impact of teen depression can be damaging when left untreated. It leaves a teen with persistent feelings of low self-worth and low self-esteem.
Your teen's ability to function at previous levels has been diminished as the energy and motivation to do so is simply not there. Some things parents can do to support their teen who is experiencing teen depression:
There are two kinds for bring present for our teens. There is the physical kind of being present where you are in person with your teen. There is also the emotional kind of presence.
The reasoning your teen gives for their teen depression may be spot on or may not make sense in the moment. They may be struggling to identify what they are feeling and may have a hard time communicating this.
Allowing yourself to be emotionally present for your teen and physically present to listen without lecturing or judging, can have a very positive impact with your teen.
Your teen may not know how to ask for help. The feelings that accompany teen depression can be very confusing and overwhelming.
If you suspect your teen is experiencing teen depression be mindful and aware of your teen's change in behavior. Trust your gut as many times that parental intuition is right. I can't tell you how many times I've had parents tell me that their gut was telling them something was wrong.
It is not easy to make the decision to take your teen to counseling for teen depression. Some teens may become defensive and angry at the suggestion.
For parents, it can cause feelings of undeserved guilt and hurt knowing they are doing everything possible to help only to see the teen depression continue.
Do for your teen what they may not be able to currently do for themselves. Reach out to a teen counselor who specializes in counseling for teen depression. If you need support, counselors can provide suggestions on how to talk to your teen about seeing a counselor.
In the Meantime: Suggestions for Teens Who Carry the Weight of Teen Depression
First of all, recognize the fact that you are doing great things daily. Struggling with teen depression is not easy. Teen depression causes us to be sad and have negative thoughts about ourselves and others. Teen depression also physically impacts us by robbing us of energy and motivation needed for day to day activities.
With all these challenges and obstacles you face with teen depression, you still show up day to day and do the best you can while carrying around this enormously heavy burden. Some days the best you can looks pretty awesome. Some days the best you can doesn't quite look so awesome.
But you continue to try despite the weight and burden of teen depression. This takes strength -- you are strong! This takes will power -- you are determined! This takes resolve -- your are committed!
Some things that can help with teen depression are:
Exercise Combats Teen Depression
Okay, so I know what I'm suggesting here. When we are depressed, our brains absolutely rob us of any drive to do anything let a lone exercise.
But, hear me out. Studies show that exercise can help lift and improve mood and energy levels. Regular exercise can stave off symptoms of depression. Some suggestions for you to think about:
You can start small by going outside and going for a ten minute walk each day. Bring ear buds, listen to calming music, and breathe in the fresh air. Believe it or not, the sun helps us improve our mood by helping our bodies produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to help improve depression. So not only are you getting good exercise but the sun is also helping to lift your mood.
Talk to a friend who likes to exercise and/or a family member and have them be your exercise partner. Usually when we have an exercise partner, knowing that someone else is relying on us can help with motivation to exercise.
If the thought of exercising is too much at this time, maybe just go outside, sit in a comfortable chair, and bask in the sun and just be present in nature.
Sleep is Key for Teen Depression
So, you would think that this would be an easy one to do. But, as you are likely well aware, teen depression can cause a teen to either sleep too much or not get enough sleep. You may have a hard time getting to sleep and/or once you're asleep, wake up frequently throughout the night.
Studies show that teens should be getting between 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night in order for your brain to function at optimal levels. And, since teen depression originates from the brain, it makes sense that a brain functioning at optimal levels would help with teen depression. Some suggestions for helping you sleep better:
Turn off all electronics with screens at least 1 hour before bedtime and ideally 2 hours before bed time. The light from the screens tricks the pineal gland in the brain that it is daytime and it does not produce as much melatonin. Melatonin is that hormone that informs the body that it is time to sleep. he pineal gland also requires darkness to trigger the production of melatonin.
For some, a warm bath or shower before going to bed can help relax you. This may help with getting to sleep but it likely won't be as effective for staying asleep once you are asleep.
There are guided meditation apps that you can get for free or are very inexpensive to purchase. Many of them are designed to help people fall asleep and can also help in staying asleep.
You can do your own research as well as there is a lot of information related to sleep on the internet. If the above is not effective, you may talk to your parents about taking you to see a doctor. There may be a physical cause preventing you from getting good sleep. The doctor may have medical recommendations that could be helpful for you.