1. Is Peer Pressure Causing Teens to Become Depressed?

    May 8, 2014

    Is Peer Pressure Causing Teens to Become Depressed?

    Teen depression is becoming more and more common all around the world. Teens are known to have a hard time becoming their own person. Their pasts’ and the present affect how well-adjusted they become. If signs of depression are presenting themselves, they should be treated right away.  However, most teenagers who come down with depression aren’t sure how to handle it or where to turn for help. If signs of depression are presenting themselves, they should be treated right away.

    There are many causes of depression in teens, way too many to list but here are some of them:

    Stress Academically: School can cause a lot of stress for teens including the pressure to get good grades, make friends, be popular, get in with the “cool” crowd, what classes to choose, what sports to be a part of, and all of the homework that they are required to do. Other stresses include the pressure of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Each factor listed above is a major cause for depression in teenagers.

    Peer Pressure: Everyone, especially teens, want to be liked by their peers. When children become teenagers, they are still trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Most teenagers are looking to be popular in their group of peers. Some of the ways they attempt to reach their popularity is often through trying drugs and risky behaviors. They may also change who they are to become who the popular crowd would like them to be. This can lower the teenager’s self-esteem quite a lot. This type of peer pressure often claims many teens mental state which causes depression.

    Relationship Break-Ups: Teenagers aren’t usually ready for serious relationships. However, there are many teens that are dating and falling in love prematurely. This is not saying that teenage relationships can’t last forever but the honest truth is that most of them don’t last past high school. However, this fact doesn’t make a break-up any easier. When a break-up occurs, it will often leave the teen feeling helpless and depressed. This is one of the most common causes of teenage depression.

    Divorced Parents: In another regard to relationships, when a teenager has to deal with their parents getting divorced, they can become very confused. They may also feel guilty as well. It is important to note that parental divorces are never the child’s fault. However, the guilt that the teenager feels often manifests itself as depression. If this is the case, the teen should see a therapist or a counselor right away.

    Genes: There are many illnesses that are linked to heredity. Many studies have linked depression to genetic traits. If a teen has a family member who has had or is suffering from depression, they are more likely to have depression themselves.

    Having Low Self-Esteem: Unfortunately, there are many teenagers who suffer from low self-esteem. There are many reasons for this including acne, not having what they consider enough friends, and sometimes even the parents aren’t supportive enough.

    If a teenager is dealing with any of the above mentioned factors and they are feeling depressed they should talk to a therapist or a counselor as soon as possible. If they are dealing with any of the above issues and they aren’t depressed, it still may also be a good idea for them to see a therapist or a counselor to talk their feelings through before depression takes over.

    The first step in battling depression for teens is coming to an understanding of what is happening to their lives and their own bodies. Once they can grasp these understandings, they will be more likely to get out of and stay out of depression. While therapy or counseling is the first recommended treatment for depression in teens, some cases of depression do require anti-depressant medications. It is not a bad thing if a teenager has to be put on these medications; it just means they are getting their depression under control. If you are a teenager and you are feeling signs of depression please contact someone right away. Also, if you are a friend or a parent of someone who has signs of depression ask for help as well.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/merfam/71578640/

  2. When will Spring come? Overcoming Seasonal Depression

    March 12, 2014

    When will Spring come? Overcoming Seasonal Depression

    by Daniela Aneis

    I had a depressed patient in psychotherapy that used to ask me frequently “When will Spring come?” meaning when would she overcome depression and see the light at the end of the tunnel (We started treatment in the Fall so her question made sense at the time). A few months into treatment and feeling quite better, she said to me: “I don’t know why I thought it would all be better in the Spring. It’s still raining and cold and I feel better. It’s all me [referring to several changes she made in herself, her habits and the way she saw herself and depression].”

    To set the record straight: clinical depression is a life threatening condition if not properly treated and needs professional treatment. Both pharmacological and psychological treatment. But I’m not going to talk to you about clinical depression but about what might be called seasonal depression – a mood fluctuation due to seasons passing and usually is felt during the Fall or Spring. People go through it without realizing but it can make small damages into your life. You may feel inexplicably sad, without the motivation and energy to pursue your goals, isolated. And if you’re having other problems in your life, you might just be opening the door to let the clinical depression settle into your life.

    So watch out for the signs before you open the door to let depression in. Instead try to make it feel like Spring is here earlier.

    Seasonal Depression: What are the signs?

    • Do you feel drained? Without energy?
    • Do you feel like sleeping too much or not enough?
    • Are not motivated to do things or start new projects?
    • Having been feeling sad lately for no good reason? Or experiencing mood swings?
    • Have you cried more than usual?
    • Do the things you used to love doing not give the same pleasure as they used to?
    • Do you feel like staying at home all the time and don’t feel like going out or being with friends as often as you did?

    If you’re experiencing some or must of these signs, you may be experiencing a seasonal depression. Watch out for these signs and try some of the strategies presented below.

    A few to tips on how to let the Spring in earlier:

    • Open your windows, let the sun in. Winter is a season where there’s less natural light, the weather is gray and rainy most of the days and lack of natural sunlight often aggravates depression.
    • Clean the house. Literally! Organizing your home space and getting rid of the junk will make you feel lighter.
    • Make the best out of the sunshine. Are you feeling tempted into spending a lazy Sunday indoors? Go outside and get some sun!  Even if just for an hour it will have enduring effects on your mood.
    • Practice exercise. Exercise creates a relaxation state and helps you take off the steam.
    • Be with friends. Isolation is not only a sign of depression but it works as fuel to the depression cycle. Break the cycle and set a date with your friends.
    • Sleep well. Not much! And wake up early. A good night sleep is usually everything. So try to keep health sleeping habits (like going to bed at the same time every night, doing relaxing stuff before going to bed)
    • Make the best out of your day. Try to do different things and step away from your routine.
    • Watch out for the signs. And make necessary adjustments to counteract its effects. What do you need to change in your life that will ease some of the seasonal depression’s signs and effects?

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/35924887@N02/5448338240

  3. The Why Me Syndrome

    November 9, 2013

    I'm unique!

    by Andrew R.


    You hear this a lot when time is spent with other people with mental quirks “How come I have depression? Why me?”. This is something I don’t do for the most part and the closest I will come is figuring a past life of mistakes is now responsible for my present but there is no logic there so it does not last long. The other reason I do not fall for this syndrome is I am pretty sure I know what the answer is.


    1. Genetics. Both sides of my family have cases of severe depression in more than one person. A number of my aunts and uncles have been on prescription medications for the last decade. So my brain is pretty much hard wired for depression.


    2. Coping Mechanisms. Most people get a problem thrust upon them then they handle it then and there. My tendency is to take the problem and swallow the damn thing then later on release the inner turmoil with the help of a razor. Not healthy and the breeding ground for mental illness.


    3. Brain design. I analyze every single thing that comes into my brain purely by habit and where most people are able to justify and let go I continue to dig until there is nothing left. I doubt this is scientific fact but i would bet people with a higher intelligence are more at risk then someone with a lower IQ score. Take a tragic event: A person with a lower IQ sees the event and just shrugs it off then is able to move on but someone with a higher IQ tends to see the same event from every possible angle and needs it to be fully justified before letting it go. There has been recent studies done showing the link between highly creative people and mental illness.


    Anyway there is my three reasons on Why me.


    Image Credit: Ashley Webb – www.flickr.com/photos/xlordashx/8418067887

  4. Ten Benefits of Sadness

    August 5, 2013

    benefits of sadness

    by Derek Whitney

    Now more than ever before, there seems to be a multitude of things to make people sad. The economy, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, terrorism and war are just a few of the things that have the ability to bring people down on a daily basis. Thanks to the Internet, tablets, smartphones and many 24-hour news channels, these tragic events are brought to us immediately in living color.

    Of course, this is not counting the personal tragedies that people have to deal with. The death of a friend or relative, the loss of a job, the death of a pet, bankruptcy, foreclosure and car accidents are much more painful than tragedies that you watch on the news. This is because you are directly affected by them.

    However, sadness is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can have many benefits. While this may be surprising to most people, the fact is that humans need sadness in their lives. It is part of what truly makes people human. Here are some of the benefits of sadness:

    1. Better memory

    People that are in bad moods have a tendency to have improved memories. According to one study, people that were feeling sad remembered more than people in a good mood about the interior details of a shop. It is also more difficult to trick sad people with misleading questions. While scientists are not sure why these things occur, the results of the tests are intriguing.

    2. Less gullible

    Sad people tend to be less gullible. Studies show that they can detect when someone is trying to deceive them better than happy people. They are also less likely to believe urban legends.

    3. Improved judgment

    Sadness makes people have judgment that is more accurate. For many years, social scientists have documented the judgmental biases of people in different moods. Researchers are now indicating that sad people do not fall prey to those biases as easily as people that are in good moods.

    4. Increased motivation

    Sadness has also been shown to have motivational benefits. For example, studies indicate that sad people are able to persevere longer at tasks that most people would give up on after a short time. Scientists believe that the human brain, in an effort to block out all of the negativity and sadness, will focus on a particular task like a laser, no matter how difficult it is. People who were sad at the start of the task become so engaged in the activity that accomplishing their goal becomes their driving ambition.

    5. Lack of stereotyping

    Negative stereotyping is a behavior that is not commonly seen from sad people. They are also less likely to act on any negative stereotypical judgments. Researchers believe that this has something to do with sadness affecting the part of the brain that makes people more civil and understanding.

    6. Ability to appreciate their blessings in life

    Sadness can make people more appreciative of what they have. An example would be parents who have three children. If one of those children were to tragically die in a car accident, the immediate reaction would be sorrow and grief. However, the parents would eventually begin to appreciate their two remaining children more than they did before the accident. This would in turn lead to a stronger family bond.

    7. Analytical reasoning

    Analytical reasoning is enhanced by sadness. Complex problems are more easily broken down into more manageable parts by this type of intense thinking.

    8. Improved manners

    Manners have been shown to be improved when people are going through a difficult time. These people tend to ask for things in a more polite way than people who are at their best.

    9. Improved persuasiveness

    Sad people tend to focus their energy into getting what they want. Therefore, it is common for sad people to be more persuasive. They are generally very good at coming up with effective and believable arguments.

    10. Fairness is increased

    Research has also shown that sad people are generally more fair. For example, if people that are feeling down and depressed are allowed to allocate a particular resource any way they want, they will most likely distribute the resource more fairly than happy people.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

  5. Panic Attacks And Acupuncture: An Alternative Treatment

    June 27, 2013

    Panic attack

    by Ryan Rivera

    While the Bay area is a great place to live, it’s not without its stresses. Many people struggle with stress and anxiety daily, and some of those people experience stress so severe that it culminates to panic attacks. Aubrey Huff of the San Francisco Giants made headlines last year when he was sidelined for hours as a result of a severe panic attack, and thousands of less famous residents suffer from these attacks regularly to the point where they need serious intervention.

    Panic attacks are complicated anxiety problems. They’re not just an issue with stress and anxiety. They’re also a problem with “over-sensitivity” – where the mind becomes overly focused on physical sensations to the point where it notices each and every change in the way your body feels, and those sensations end up triggering panic attacks. That’s what makes acupuncture as a panic attack treatment so interesting, because it can potentially help control not only the anxiety, but also the sensitivity that triggers episodes of panic.

    The Benefits of Acupuncture for Panic Attacks

    In order to treat panic attacks, you have to first combat anxiety and stress, and then follow that up with some type of solution that counters some of the anxiety attack triggers – for example, minor aches and pains, an increased heart rate, etc. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always been fond of acupuncture. Acupuncture has specific points on the body (which can vary depending on your stresses) that are known to promote significant mental wellness. Acupuncturists often have different views on which points to use depending on their training, but you’ll find that such points may include:  ST 30,  LIV 13, P 4, HE 5, and P 6

    These are the areas that reduce issues like heart palpitations, mania, tension, and more. They’re the release points for a variety of anxiety-related symptoms and issues, and some of many that are linked to providing the body with considerably more resistant to anxiety and stress.

    However, in addition to the basic anxiety relief points, acupuncture can be used to address other issues as well, and may have some additional benefits beyond reducing anxiety and stress symptoms that can help you overcome your panic attack issues.

    Acupuncture and Focus

    One of the main problems with panic attacks is that the more reminders you have about your panic attacks, the more likely you are to get one. This is because thinking about panic attacks can cause panic attacks. The more distracted you are, the less likely a panic attack will occur.

    Taking medications every day or going to therapy regularly may have some advantages, but they also force you to remind yourself that you suffer from panic disorder, which of course increases the likelihood that you’ll think about your symptoms and create a new attack. On the other hand, while you may need to attend regular acupuncture treatments, it is also not something you need to address daily. This will help ensure that you’re not overly focused on it, so that when you’re living without stress you’re not as reminded of your panic.

    Acupuncture and Reducing Physical Sensations

    Similarly, acupuncture can potentially stop some of the physical sensations that cause panic attacks beyond those related directly to anxiety. For example, if you often feel that your legs are weak, and when you feel this way you have a panic attack, then by addressing this directly (ie, using acupuncture to prevent leg weakness) you’ll decrease the frequency of your physical sensations and ultimately have fewer issues that cause attacks.

    Using Acupuncture as an Alternative Panic Attack Treatment

    For all of these reasons, acupuncture has become a very interesting method of treating anxiety and panic, and is growing in popularity within the Bay Area.

    Any anxiety treatment needs to incorporate lifestyle changes that contribute to anxiety. Fatty foods, obesity, a lack of exercise, and working in a stressful environment are all issues that will always cause some anxiety. Make sure that you’ve examined the ways that you yourself have increased your own anxiety symptoms, because while acupuncture (and any anxiety treatment) can reduce anxiety, they cannot stop you from contributing to it without your own willingness to commit to life changes.

    But when you’ve made those changes, there are several reasons that acupuncture may be to your advantage when you suffer from panic attacks. Find an acupuncturist you trust, and you may find that your panic attacks drastically decrease in overall frequency and severity for weeks at a time.

    Image CreditLuis Sánchez

  6. Five Depression Self Help Strategies

    May 30, 2013

    depression self help

    by Dr. Ralph Bieg

    There are a number of effective depression self help strategies. These strategies can be especially beneficial when used in combination with psychotherapy.

    1) Monitor your self talk (and learn to talk back). No big surprise – depressed people think a lot of negative thoughts. They put themselves down, are critical of others, expect the worse, overgeneralize, and lack hope for a brighter future.  These self-defeating thoughts lead to self-defeating behaviour (Like not even applying for a job that you are qualified for, because you’ve convinced yourself they won’t hire you.)

    When you experience a negative emotion, that negative feeling was preceded and caused by a negative thought.  So if you’re feeling, depressed, anxious, hopeless, guilty, etc. – STOP – and examine your thoughts. You can train yourself to recognize negative thoughts, challenge them, reframe them, put them in perspective, replace them with something neutral (or better yet, positive), or just reject them. Read a good article on how to challenge negative talk by Ben Martin, PSY.D. here. Another useful therapeutic approach is to alleviate negative thoughts using repetition. This approach is described in the article “Handling Negative Thoughts by Repetition” by Tali Shenfield, PSY.D – read it here.

    You can also be affected by other’s negativity. Avoid, or at least limit contact with, the complainers and “Debbie Downers” who see the world as out to get them and their glass as half empty. As much as possible, hang out with happy, optimistic people who see the best in and encourage you.

    2) Keep a gratitude journal, a simple notebook in which you write down at least five things you are grateful for each day, even if it is as inconsequential as your first morning cup of hot coffee. As Christine Kane explained so well in her online article Gratitude Journals and Why They Work, “This is not about living in denial or being phony. What it is about is refining your focus. In other words, I encourage the sensitive and bright people in the world to refocus their sensitivity so that they are sensitive to the joy and the good things in their lives, and not just to how bad and painful things feel to them.”

    3) Take a natural remedy – Consult with a alternative health practitioner or natural health store about natural remedies such as 5-HTP, SAMe, and St. John’s wort:

    • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. The body uses the amino acid tryptophan to make 5-HTP, which it then turns into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Unlike serotonin, 5-HTP can cross the blood/brain barrier, accessing the brain from the bloodstream.

    It is also a precursor of the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Serotonin plays a role in mood, appetite, and sleep, and 5-HTP is sold over the counter in many countries as a dietary supplement to treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, binge eating and fibromyalgia.

    5-HTP is sourced from the seeds of the West African shrub griffonia simplicifolia. Do NOT take 5-HTP if you are taking a prescription anti-depressant. Both 5-HTP and antidepressants increase the levels of serotonin in the body. Too much serotonin can result in a dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome.

    • SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is another naturally occurring substance found throughout the body, and in high concentrations in the brain. It too can cross the blood/brain barrier, and affects the metabolism of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. It also influences hormones.

    While clinical studies have shown that SAMe is effective in alleviating depression, scientists aren’t sure why. It’s speculated that it facilitates synthesis of the same neurotransmitters that anti-depressants act on. It has long been used as a prescription depression medication in Europe.

    According to an editorial by Dr. J. Craig Nelson in the American Journal of Psychiatry, “Low levels of SAMe have been reported in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of severely depressed patients. Oral and parenteral administration of SAMe result in a rise in CSF SAMe concentrations, indicating the compound crosses the blood-brain barrier. An increase in SAMe levels has been positively correlated with improvement in depression. SAMe concentrations also appear to rise in patients who respond to other antidepressants such as desipramine. SAMe is produced in the one-carbon cycle involving folate, homocysteine, and vitamin B12, and abnormalities of each of these compounds has been associated with depression. ”

    “In short, the hypothesis is that abnormalities in the one-carbon cycle may result in low concentrations of SAMe that in turn may limit the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This may directly contribute to depressive symptoms or interfere with or limit the action of other antidepressants. Administration of SAMe may ameliorate these deficiencies or augment antidepressants and facilitate neurotransmission.”

    Whatever the mechanism, SAMe works to alleviate depression faster than prescription drugs and other alternative therapies, sometimes within a week.

    • St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) was one of the earliest popular natural remedies for depression, and is the most studied. It has consistently been shown to work as well as, or better than, prescription antidepressants for mild to moderate depression. The plant may prevent nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing some chemical messengers involved in mood, including dopamine and serotonin. St John’s Wort is a stimulant, and may not be the best choice of natural antidepressant for those who experience anxiety.

    Taking St. John’s wort can weaken many prescription medicines, including antidepressants, birth control pills, and some HIV, cancer and heart medications, so make sure your health care provider is aware of every natural remedy and prescription medication that you are taking.


    4) Light therapy – If your depression typically occurs in the late fall and winter, it may be seasonal effective disorder (SAD), linked to a lack of sunshine. SAD may respond to a light therapy box, also known as a light box, bright light therapy box or a phototherapy box. Light therapy boxes mimic outdoor light.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood, and eases other symptoms of SAD. Most people use light boxes for at least 30 minutes every morning.

    5) Emotional freedom techniques, or EFT, is described by founder Gary Craig as “an emotional version of acupuncture, except we don’t use needles. Instead, we use a simple two-pronged process wherein we (1) mentally ‘tune in’ to specific issues while (2) stimulating certain meridian points on the body by tapping on them with our fingertips. Properly done, EFT appears to balance disturbances in the meridian system and thus often reduces the conventional therapy procedures from months or years down to minutes or hours.”

    While the fastest results are likely achieved with a trained therapist, EFT can be learned and practiced on one’s own. Craig has released his work into the public domain, and free tutorials can be downloaded from his website, www.emofree.com.

    While serious and long lasting depression should always be reported to and evaluated by your doctor or a mental health professional, mild or moderate depression will likely respond to a combination of these depression self-help techniques. They can also be used along with therapy and/or prescription medication (but don’t take the natural remedies along with anti-depressants) for more serious and deep-seated depression.

    Consistent use of self help methods like positive self talk, a gratitude journal and Emotional Freedom Techniques will result in lasting change in how you think about and experience life, lessening your chances of experiencing future depression.

    Finally, But first, don’t ignore these obvious and often repeated basic self-help advice for depression, including:

    • Getting enough sleep.
    • Eating a healthy diet (lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains).
    • Meditating, or practicing relaxation.
    • Avoiding “self medicating” with alcohol, recreational drugs, and/or food.
    • Exercising – even if it’s just a couple of 10-minute walks a day.

    With this foundation, you will have much more success in your fight with depression.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini 

  7. Bullying And Mental Illness In Kids

    May 6, 2013


    by Brooke McDonald

    I’m not a mother yet, but as a woman, I am on high alert for unkind interactions. Perhaps this is my natural inclination for empathy, or perhaps it’s partly a function of all the violence caused by mentally troubled individuals that has hit national news in recent months. Call me nosy, but I can’t help it – whether I’m at the grocery store, the gym, or the gas station, my ears and eyes are on constant vigilance, a law enforcement of my own dedicated to ensuring things are at peace between people.

    It’s no wonder I’m concerned – I think we all are, knowing how mental illness is escalading in young people. The American Psychiatric Foundation has said that one in five children and adolescents have a mental health disorder, and one in 10 has a serious disorder.  These are huge, huge numbers.

    Bullying comes up frequently related to mental health disorders. In college, I had friends who even as adults made weekly visits to a campus counselor to deal with the after-effects of years of bullying in middle school and high school.. My friends’ stories broke my heart and made me increasingly aware of the devastating effect of bullying on a person’s long-term wellbeing.

    You never outgrow bullying, a recent Duke Medicine survey says

    Researchers at Duke Medicine recently released findings in 2013 from a survey on the long-term psychological effects of bullying – and these are considered “the most definitive to date.” Bullying does affect victims in long-lasting ways, the study supports, and it rejects prior ideas that victims can forget and move on from bullying easily.

    Victims and bullies alike were found to be at a higher risk for developing psychiatric disorders, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and depression than individuals who never experienced bullying, the study found. Those who were victims only had “higher levels of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia.”

    The study integrated over 20 years of data from a group of participants examined since adolescence. A group of over 1400 children in different counties in North Carolina was assessed yearly to determine whether they had experienced bullying. The assessments began in childhood until age 16, and then periodically into adulthood afterwards for over 1200 of the children.

    In case we had forgotten, in case we had blown it off, news alert: bullying does impact the children who are involved.

    Encouraging education

    Our nation appears to be actively listening to the mental anguish of its youth – and not only listening, but acting to change it through awareness. In Miami-Dade county, the school district implemented a nationwide program in the last few months called “Typical or Troubled?” to combat mental illness in kids and train adults and professionals to notice troubling signs. The program, although new to Miami-Dade County, is not actually new – it originated after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999 and has been used in over 400 schools nationwide since.

    The educational program teaches parents how to identify mental health problems, the importance of intervention, characteristics of mental disorders, the impact of a mental health issue on a teen and school community, and how adults can make a difference in a child’s life. Since its initiation, the program has shown success in raising awareness, increasing referrals, and preventing suicides.

    As the program clearly shows, the active, caring, trained diligence of adults can make a world of a difference in the life of a child. The importance of awareness cannot be discounted.

    We can make a difference

    I don’t want to become one of those “hover mothers” who volunteers to be a lunch lady in order to keep an eye on her kids, but I can 100% understand how they develop. Children go off to school, and mothers release them with helpless hands to the forces that be – the bullies that be. It’s an unkind world – and children are vulnerable, with barely the skill set to protect themselves from physical punches, much less verbal ones.  What can parents do?

    Understanding that bullying is real, and the effects of bullying shouldn’t be ignored, is a start. Then, knowing how to detect signs of emotional trouble and mental ill-effects is a second step in the right direction. Awareness is key, along with the willingness to act, to protect, to defend and ensure that interactions remain friendly between young people.

    In addition, the incredible value of treating people with respect and kindness cannot be ignored – wherever we are, whatever we are doing. Bullying begins with all of us, and it can end with all of us, too.

    Image Credit: Mike Bailey-Gates

  8. Four Easy Steps To Put A Tourniquet On Your Teen’s Depression

    March 5, 2013

    Depression and sadness

    Image Credit: Mike Bailey-Gates

    by Jennifer Mathis

    Seeing Depression as a Serious Injury

    Without broken bones, a high fever, or profuse bleeding, it can be difficult to determine how severe your teen’s depression really is. Depression stripped of any scientific or medical terminology is, put simply, a severe brain injury.

    It’s not like your teen face planted in a skateboard stunt; it’s not that kind of brain injury. It is usually a slow, relentless assault on your child’s psyche, which drains vital hormones from their brain. It may be their love life’s gone bad, or lack of friends, or being the victim of bullies, or even their reaction to your divorce, or contentions at home that rob their brain of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

    How important are these hormones? Well, imagine trying to drive your brand new car while it is dangerously low on oil, anti-freeze, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Everything looks fine. It may even have that new-car smell, but it doesn’t seem to work right. Maybe your car just has a bad attitude.

    Similarly, when your teen is low on serotonin, it is difficult for them to feel happy or good about anything. Low norepinephrine robs your child of motivation to achieve or even get out of bed, and low dopamine can affect your teen’s grasp of reality.

    When your child is in this weakened condition, dealing with ordinary problems and stress can feel overwhelming and further tax their body’s remaining supply of these vital hormones, sending them into a full clinical depression.

    When your teen is grappling with depression they won’t appear to be broken, injured, or in pain. In reality, they are bleeding to death in front of your eyes. Hopefully you will see it in time.

    Does depression sound serious to you yet? If you are convinced, here are the four steps you need to take now for your teen.

    Step 1 – See Your Doctor

    Yes, you will need to see a doctor. Depression is a medical condition. It isn’t a “bad attitude.”

    Under most insurance plans, your teen will need to see your primary care physician first. Be sure you attend this visit. Most primary care physicians know when a condition requires a mental health specialist. He or she will most likely recommend a good child psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on the severity of your teen’s condition.

    Step 2 – See the Psychologist

    Based on your doctor’s recommendation, a health care professional which has the proper training and experience to deal with your child’s condition will be able to help determine the underlying causes and ongoing circumstances that exacerbate your child’s depression.

    He or she will also know the proper treatment such as psychotherapy. Severe depression usually requires both a psychotherapy provided by a licensed child psychologist or psychotherapist as well as medication prescribed by a psychiatrist.

    Step 3 – Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment

    The Internet isn’t a good repository of medical information, mainly because much of it is inflammatory, misguided, or trying to sell something. You will surely find several sites that disagree with your doctor. Paying attention to this misinformation is a bad strategy.

    Those who foster a non-medical approach don’t have a vested interest in your child’s welfare. They are most likely trying to sell you an herbal, vitamin concoction that is the equivalent of a band-aid on a broken leg.

    Depression, like any other serious injury, can’t just be walked off, it needs medical intervention. The psychotherapy and medication your doctor prescribed will help your teen to heal.

    Step 4 – Provide a Healing Environment

    Even though medication for depression exists, it isn’t like aspirin for a headache. It only helps your child to cope enough to follow strategies and regimens that allow for gradual healing.

    Based on this reality, it is impractical to think that your teen could heal in the very environment that helped create the problem in the first place. The competitive, negative, and often toxic atmosphere of school can nullify the effects of their medication and therapy.

    Many parents have found the success they are looking for in boarding schools specifically created as places of healing. Severe depression often requires this type of intensive care for the psyche, allowing your teen to learn to deal with life and achieve academically without the negative stimuli that could reopen wounds and prevent proper healing.

    As in cases of severe bleeding, doctors will eventually remove a tourniquet in order to repair tissue and allow the patient to fully recover. Similarly, drastic measures to save your teen from depression can eventually lead to full integration of your teen back into your life as well as society.

    If you like this article please share and save a life.

  9. Kick Teen Depression and Invite Love: How Dance Helps Depressed Teenagers

    February 26, 2013

    kick teen depression

    by Denny Dew

    A dance to raise awareness about teenage depression

    Kick Teen Depression is a group of teenagers. They think that depression in teenagers is a problem deserving much more attention. They gently ask us to get around our reluctance to care about psychological problems and to give these latter some consideration.

    They danced this call for attention last 9th of February 2013. It took place in Conshohocken. It’s a town in the state of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

    Does it matter that they are American? No, it doesn’t because depression is a psychological problem and human psychology is the same in the USA, in the UK, in Australia and in Brazil. There is only one mankind, as too often we forget.

    Their call for attention is gentle. It’s about inviting love. We all need kindness in a world that attracts our attention so brusquely.

    We also need to listen carefully to their call because it’s about a society deteriorating fast towards an inhuman way of life.

    Why I like this event

    I like to see teens helping each other. It gives hope. Schools set teens against each other, a needlessly competitive society creates conflict. Money and power makes enemies of people who could be friends.

    Helping each other, instead, is healing. It breaks barriers and makes people happy. We all want to be happy despite all the efforts made to divide us.

    I like dance. Dance is life in a culture of death. I like life. We all do. Even if we feel suicidal we actually love life. Suicide is an extreme cry for help that deep down one would like to be heard. One would like to hear that one has a right to live no questions asked, no judgments inflicted. Man has been dancing life for thousands of years.

    I like dance because it’s a very old and powerful way to tell the story of our feelings. It reminds us that our feelings aren’t there to be dissected and judged, but to be lived.

    Dance heals depression. Let’s see how. But first let’s see how teens can help their depressed friends.

    But, can teens help?

    “There is no need of faith in the robot, since there is no life in it either.” This is Erich Fromm speaking loudly about the robotisation of modern life in his book The Art of Loving.

    Adults are deeply conditioned by the pressures of social conformity, and to them robotisation is just routine. It’s like taking coffee in the morning.

    They accept being manipulated by advertising, mass media, companies, ideologies, political parties.

    Teens have a sensibility for authentic human feelings that will be destroyed when they adopt adult insincerity. But, until then, they are still sincere and human. Robotisation happens later. The production-and-consumption machine will make robots of them and replace their true feelings with the ones required for the smooth working of the machine.

    It’s a child who shouts that the emperor has no clothes. Adults don’t dare and even if they dared, they wouldn’t see the naked emperor. They accept the absurdity of modern life as a given.

    Teens have a message and they would like to be listened to, but who really wants to listen to teens knowing that their social role is to become robots? Robots are to be programmed. They aren’t supposed to have something useful to say.

    To tell them what to do, what to learn and what to feel is easy, and there is no need of faith to do it. Just that all humanity is lost in the process.

    How dance helps

    Dance is a therapy for depression because it creates an oasis where teenagers can rest from the pressure to become well-functioning robots.

    When dancing their feelings, teens are in control. They can express themselves freely and their interpretation of rhythm and music is personal and no correction needs to be made.

    While in their daily life teens have to suffer the humiliation of character moulding, in a session of dance therapy they are allowed to live their personality without needing to fake it.

    Dance gives the opportunity to express problematic feelings like fear. When fear is depicted through a dance routine, it becomes less of a problem.

    Dance reminds depressed teens that they are human and can create. Something they can forget at other times because they are carefully and continuously prepared to be used.

    Industrialization wants to control everything, even creativity. In dance therapy depressed teens are reminded that human creativity is an animal that can’t live in captivity.

    A therapy for depression based on dance has an advantage over talking therapy because teens might associate the latter with judgments. Judgments are delivered by talking, not by dancing.

    Every therapy for depression needs a therapist who has trained himself to be non-judgmental. This is important for dance therapy too.

    Dance is a form of art. One of the main elements that are present in every form of art is a truly genuine interest.

    Modern life requires us to fake our interests and have them manipulated or simply ignored. If we have a genuine interest, it will be used by someone else for his own purposes, in which we have no say. This is very depressing. Dance reminds us that the best way to disperse the clouds of depression is to bring into our life the creative inspiration that makes us human. This is how we invite love into our lives.