There’s a valid concern about medicating teenagers for depression. The side effects are an issue as well as a loathing to become dependent on a chemical to feel normal.
For that reason, many want to try a more natural approach that doesn’t immediately start someone on a prescription drug. Here are some tips on how depression is handled without medication in teens.
Part of the problem with teen depression is a sense of isolation and a feeling that there is no help available. Parents don’t understand. Peers don’t offer anything useful. Other authority figures are hard to reach out to. But this is a recipe for furthering the disease.
If you become aware that your teen is becoming withdrawn and depressed, the first thing you can offer is understanding.
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While they may be reluctant to talk about their condition and feelings, that’s no reason you can’t open up about a time in your life when you felt overwhelmed by negative feelings. This is one way to bridge the gap and show the topic won’t be brushed off.
Support also comes by not overreacting when your teen displays inappropriate anger or frustration. More than adult depression, teenagers are more likely to become irritable or angry as a result of the depression they feel. Remember they aren’t being unsociable just to irritate you – isolation is a real symptom of the disease.
Promote Physical Activity
This is probably the most natural of the natural remedies. We seem to be wired to respond positively to physical activity and teens are no different. Allowing them to simply vegetate infront of a computer or sleep an inordinate amount of time is precisely the opposite of what should be done. If possible, encourage physical activity either by offering transport, paying fees or participating with them.
This should be brisk but doesn’t have to be Olympic level exercise. Movement and getting outside are the two critical factors. If they have an interest in a sport, get them on a team. Get involved yourself so they don’t simply drop the activity at the first sign of any failure. Biking, hiking, dog walking – these are all activities you can do together. Sharing some time out exercising will not only improve depression symptoms, but help you bond with your teen.
Promote Healthy Social Activities
Combating isolation is critical. Where there is an opportunity to enhance your teens social life in a positive way, take it. Friends are important at this age and there are some things they will not wish to share with any but their closest friends.
While high school remains the social hub for many teens, there are other organizations and activities available, including church activities, volunteering and work.
Talk therapy with a specialist is natural in the sense that it allows someone to talk over their troubles and get feedback from a trained professional. However, by learning about depression and following your teen’s progress, you can stay involved even when you aren’t directly participating.
The trick is to remain involved without becoming controlling. Key off your teens expressed desires and willingness to open up. The critical thing is to be available when needed.