Teen Depression and the Family

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When your teen suffers from depression, she may not be the only one who feels the effects. When one family member suffers from depression, the rest of the family is also impacted. If your teen suffers from depression, consider how her depressed state could have an impact on your family as well as what you can do — as a family — to help her recover.


Prevalence

While it may seem to some that depression is an issue that only impacts adults, a surprising number of teens experience it. As KidsHealth reports, 1 in 33 kids will feel depressed before he reaches 18. For some, these depressive episodes may be short and pass on their own. For others, overcoming the depression will prove challenging.

Familial Depression Triggers

Real depression, not just temporary sadness, is due, at least partially, to a chemical imbalance within the brain. Some factors can increase the likelihood that your teen, who is already prone to depression, will fall into a depressed state. If your family dynamic undergoes a major change, such as the death of a member or a divorce, your teen who already has a tendency toward depression could be pushed into a depressive episode because of her inability to cope with the change.

Family Understanding

When a member struggles with depression, other family members should understand that depression is a mental illness, and not something that the sufferer can just “get over.” If one of your children suffers from depression, educate yourself and your other family members on what depression entails. This information will allow all the family members to be more sympathetic toward the depressed family member.

Family Therapy

While it may seem that only the depressed teen would need therapy to counterbalance the effects of depression, in truth, the entire family can benefit from counseling sessions. As your teen struggles with depression, other family members may struggle to deal with the impact that this depression has on the family as a whole. Additionally, your family dynamic could suffer from the fact that one of your members is, at times, emotionally unavailable.

Family Dinners

When a family member suffers from depression, it can be difficult to maintain family unity. One simple way to ensure that your family remains close, despite your teen depression sufferer’s challenges, is to eat dinner together regularly. Have a family meal at least several times a week. This simple practice ensures that your family keeps the channels of communication open and remains a cohesive family unit.

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