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Holiday season may worsen teens’ depressive symptoms; here’s how to handle it

December 6, 2017 0 Comments

Twinkling lights and mistletoes; festive carols and shopping; the excitement of opening presents and gorging on home-baked treats – it is no surprise that we all eagerly wait for the holiday season. While many may consider the merrymaking and family bonding to be the perfect respite from low moods and depressive symptoms, for some people, especially teens, the holiday season can be anything but that. Particularly teens from dysfunctional families, or those without a supportive social system, can find themselves struggling during this period. Those suffering from eating disorders or body image issues often end up with these symptoms during the festive season.

Recent studies have indicated an increasing incidence of depression among adolescents and teens. A study published in the journal Pediatrics in December 2016 found that the 12-month prevalence of major depressive episodes (MDEs) among adolescents and young adults increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014. More recently, data from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that 12.8 percent adolescents aged between 12 and  17 years had an MDE during the year, while 9 percent had an MDE with severe impairment.

Although teens can experience depressive symptoms at any time during the year, the severity may increase during the holiday season. There could be many reasons for this – unavailability of family members due to preoccupation with holiday preparations, shorter days and lesser sunlight, changes in diet and routine, lack of sleep and/or exercise, or having unrealistic expectations. Accordingly, teens need to give the highest priority to their mental health during this time of the year.

Keeping depression at bay during festivities

Teens can follow some simple tips to keep depression at bay during the yearend holidays:

Treatment for teen depression

While a supportive family can assist in alleviating a teen’s depressive symptoms, it may be necessary to seek professional help if such symptoms become acute. Medication (antidepressants) and therapy are the two most common forms of treatment for teen depression. Comprehensive counseling sessions can help in dealing with teen’s negative emotions by channelizing them into positive thoughts.

If you know a teen boy exhibiting symptoms of depression, White River Academy can help. Located in Delta, Utah, it is a leading therapeutic boarding school in the United States that offers evidence-based teenage depression treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about the best teen depression center in your vicinity.

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