Everyone gets depressed on occasion. At the same time, it’s important to know that depression is far different from merely feeling depressed. It is a mental illness and not simply “feeling the blues.” Teens are just as susceptible to dealing with depression as adults. You may be worried about your child if he or she is exhibiting the symptoms of this mental illness. If you have noticed certain other signs, your teen may also be battling an addiction problem. This is known as a dual diagnosis and requires specialized care to help them with both illnesses.

What is Teen Depression?

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses in teens. Over the past year, around 13 percent of teens suffered a major depressive episode.

Although it is normal for anyone to feel down in the dumps on occasion, clinical depression is different. Teens are typically known for their mood swings while their hormones race. However, with depression, it’s common for young people to experience a feeling of emptiness, great despair and isolation. Your teen may feel as though his or her life is hopeless. One of the easiest ways to tell that your child may be suffering from depression is that they no longer care about activities or hobbies that once brought them great joy. Another sign to look out for is dramatic changes in their sleep whether they are sleeping too much or too little.

In addition, if any of the following factors ring true with your teen, they may be at a greater risk for depression:

• Family history of depression or other mental illness
• Difficult home environment
• Chronic health issues
• Low self-esteem due to bullying or academic troubles
• History of trauma in the family or due to the death of someone close

A teen who is battling depression will exhibit certain symptoms you should consider warning signs. They include the following:

• A feeling of sadness or hopelessness
• Frequent crying
• Lack of interests in hobbies and other actives
• Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
• Social withdrawal
• Sudden, new use of drugs or alcohol

Depression and addiction frequently go hand-in-hand in teens. If your teen is struggling with depression, it’s not unusual for them to suddenly turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms.

How Do Depression and Addiction Interact in Teens?

Depression has a distinctive effect on a teen’s brain as it results in a chemical change. This can adversely affect your child to make positive decisions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, teens who have depression typically act on impulses rather than through first thinking about the consequences of their actions. This can easily lead to drug or alcohol abuse.

Although substances like alcohol or drugs can give your teen fast relief by numbing them, they end up making their depression even worse. Additionally, if your teen has a substance abuse disorder, their symptoms of depression are exacerbated in comparison to teens who don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse can only further damage a teen’s developing brain. The substance of choice only impairs the brain’s functioning and mental abilities.

Does Your Teen Need Rehab for Depression and Addiction?

If your teen has been battling depression and an addiction to drugs or alcohol, then rehab is the best thing for them. There are treatment programs that are specialized to help young people who have a dual diagnosis. Treatment programs are tailored to each person’s own unique needs based on the severity of their addiction and the substance they are abusing but also take into account the depression they are battling. There are a number of options available, including detox, group, individual and family therapy and inpatient programs that allow your teen to learn valuable tools for coping with everyday life and how to recognize certain behaviors so they can avoid a relapse.

The best thing you can do for your teen is to enroll them in a treatment program for their depression and addiction. If you have talked to your teen openly and honestly, with sympathy and caring and are ready to get them the help they need, contact us today at 770-299-1677. Our counselors are available 24 hours per day to speak with you.