Depression and Teenage Girls

“Our teenage girls are suffering through an overwhelming wave of violence and trauma, and it’s affecting their mental health.”
-Kathleen Ethier, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, those of us in the behavioral health field have made a lot of noise about the vulnerability of youth and teen mental health, and in many ways it has shined a light and made it a major topic in the national conversation. But, according to recently released results from the CDC’s 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the trends in teen mental health are moving in the wrong direction and have been for years.

Teen girl with anxiety

We need to talk about young girls and depression.

NBC News reports that according to the survey, “nearly three in five teen girls (57 percent) said they felt ‘persistently sad or hopeless.’ That’s the highest rate in a decade. And 30 percent said they have seriously considered dying by suicide — a percentage that’s risen by nearly 60 percent over the past ten years.”

Anxiety and depression, brought on by stress related to school and social pressures, seem to be at the heart of the alarming trend. Perhaps the most disturbing news to come out of the report is that sexual violence against teenage girls and young women is on the rise, further contributing to the decline in mental health.

As a community, we can do more to advocate for girls and young women who may be experiencing anxiety and depression. We should never be afraid to ask a youth or adolescent if they have considered suicide or if they are feeling hopeless or lost. If they do express feelings of hopelessness or sadness, we should not try to “cheer them up” or condescend or dismiss those feelings. Honest, truthful conversations are an essential first step in dealing with depression.

Look for the signs and talk with a doctor or clinician. A mental health assessment will start the process and help determine an appropriate course of treatment.

Depression in Teenage Girls: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Management

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that can affect people of all ages, including teenagers. Depression in teenage girls can be especially challenging, as they may have difficulty expressing their emotions and seeking help. In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms, causes, treatment, and management of depression in teenage girls.

What are the symptoms of depression in teenage girls?

Depression can manifest in many different ways, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. However, some common symptoms of depression in teenage girls include:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness that persist for an extended period
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.

What is the best treatment for Teenage Depression?

The most effective treatment for depression in teenage girls depends on the severity of the symptoms and the individual’s needs. Some treatment options that may be helpful include:

  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy can help teenagers identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Medication: Antidepressants can be helpful in managing symptoms of depression, but they should only be prescribed by a qualified medical professional.
  • Support groups: Group therapy can be beneficial for teenagers, as it provides a safe space to share experiences and connect with others who are going through similar struggles.
  • Lifestyle changes: Encouraging healthy habits such as exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep hygiene can help improve overall well-being.

What are the causes of Teenage Depression?

Depression in teenage girls can have many causes, including:

  • Genetics: Some people may be more predisposed to depression due to their genetic makeup.
  • Hormonal changes: Teenage girls experience hormonal changes during puberty that can affect their mood and behavior.
  • Environmental factors: Stressful life events, such as a death in the family, divorce, or a difficult relationship, can trigger depression.
  • Brain chemistry: Imbalances in neurotransmitters, the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood, can contribute to depression.

How to manage Teenage Depression?

Managing depression in teenage girls requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the disorder. Some strategies that may be helpful include:

  • Seeking professional help: A mental health professional can provide guidance and support throughout the recovery process.
  • Encouraging healthy habits: Regular exercise, healthy eating, and good sleep hygiene can help improve overall well-being and reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Building a support system: Surrounding oneself with supportive friends and family can provide a sense of belonging and help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Identifying and avoiding triggers: Recognizing situations or circumstances that trigger depressive symptoms can help teenagers take steps to avoid or manage them.
  • Practicing self-care: Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as reading, writing, or creative hobbies, can help improve overall mood and well-being.

Moriah Behavioral Health’s Programs for Depression in Teenage Girls

For teenage girls who require more intensive treatment for depression, Moriah Behavioral Health offers comprehensive and compassionate programs. Moriah Behavioral Health’s residential treatment center, partial hospitalization program, and intensive outpatient program provide evidence-based treatment modalities to address depression, as well as other mental health disorders. Their multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals works closely with each individual to develop personalized treatment plans that address their unique needs.

Moriah Behavioral Health’s residential treatment center is designed for teenage girls who require 24-hour supervision and support. The program provides a safe and supportive environment where individuals can receive intensive therapy, medication management, and other specialized treatments.

Their partial hospitalization program offers a structured and intensive treatment program for teenage girls who require more than outpatient therapy but less than residential treatment. The program is designed to provide a high level of care while allowing individuals to return home in the evenings.

Moriah Behavioral Health’s intensive outpatient program (IOP) is ideal for teenage girls who require ongoing support and therapy but do not need round-the-clock care. The program provides flexible treatment options, including individual and group therapy, medication management, and other therapeutic services. Perhaps most importantly, Moriah Behavioral Health provides family therapy sessions at all levels of care, including IOP. Family sessions allow for growth and dynamic changes within the household environment, which is often critical for adolescents who are undergoing deep changes in their own mental health journey.

Depression in teenage girls is a serious mental health issue that requires prompt and effective treatment. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and seeking professional help can make a significant difference in managing the disorder and improving overall quality of life. By following a multifaceted approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the disorder, it’s possible to successfully manage depression and move towards a more fulfilling and healthy life. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, reach out to Moriah Behavioral Health to learn more about their programs and how they can help.