Depression relapse, although rarely discussed, can pose a significant risk in teenagers, preventing them from fully recovering and getting on with their lives.
Treatment protocols are different today than in the past, and modern approaches have a high success rate with young people. Because the teen brain is not fully developed, and thanks to the extra stress of hormonal and social pressures, teens require a different approach to maintenance treatment if they are to fully recover from depression.
Treating Depression in Teens
Long-held interventions of medication and traditional talk therapy have been discounted to a great extent. Antidepressants are known today to pose an unacceptable level of risk for teens, other than in the most extreme cases. Talk therapy, although highly effective for adults, has a poor record of success for younger people.
Popular treatment approaches demonstrated to be effective for helping teens recover from depression include experiential therapy, music and art therapy, equine therapy and group therapy.
Why Relapse Is a Greater Risk for Young Women
Although teens are known to be responsive to a variety of depression treatment protocols, they are also especially prone to regressing. Today’s follow-up and maintenance protocols are unfortunately designed only for adults, based on research on adults. This fails to account for several factors unique to young people, especially young women.
The adolescent and teenage brain undergoes rapid periods of change and development. In addition, the hormonal and social overload of puberty and the transitions it brings exert a greater level of stress on teens’ emotional and mental states.
Young women are especially vulnerable because, in addition to having a much higher risk of developing depression, they are less likely to openly admit or discuss emotional and behavioral challenges.
The Importance of Maintenance Treatment
The research clearly demonstrates that long-term treatment is the secret to helping teens fully recover from depression. Maintenance treatment not only sustains the progress achieved during the initial intervention, but it also allows a young woman to continue improving, and ultimately, to achieve remission. The Treatment of Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS), performed by the National Institute of Mental Health, indicated that this was true no matter what treatment protocol was used.
The bottom line: Whatever intervention your daughter undergoes for her depression, maintain a schedule of follow-up treatment for at least a year after remission is achieved, if not more.
At Havenwood Academy, we recognize the challenge that depression and related disorders pose for girls and young women. Our programs are specifically designed to ensure that our students receive the proper treatment, and that it is maintained in accordance with the published research. Contact us today to learn more about getting help for your daughter, and how to prevent depression relapse.