Millions of US teens aged 13 to 17 have been diagnosed with depressive disorders. As these students enter college, over half show signs of at least mild depression. And for many, it’s much worse. So depression and students–why does one so often go with the other? And what can you do as a parent to support your child through this often difficult time?
Causes of Depression in Students
One thing that experts believe leads to depression in students is the sheer number of “firsts,” such as:
- Weeks away from home
- Not having a curfew
- Not having a parent tell them to do their homework
They may also include first sexual experience and first time trying drugs and/or alcohol.
Many of these firsts can lead to a lot of new experiences and successes. But often, failure is mixed in with it. And that failure can feel overwhelming given the pressure many students are under to set their lives up on a path toward the future they want for themselves.
After all, making mistakes can have real consequences, and they learn as they go.
For example, many students experience their first big breakup somewhere between 16 and 20. It can be emotionally devastating. Insomnia and depression often ensue as a result and can last for weeks or months.
And we couldn’t talk about depression in teens and young adults without mentioning social media. It not only amplifies a person’s mistakes like nothing in history ever could. It can also make the lives of others look deceptively perfect, leading a student to believe they’re somehow inadequate.
Drug Use Can Amplify Depression
Not every student who is depressed will turn to drugs and alcohol. But given the fact that this is also a time when students have more personal freedom, chances are they may try various substances to fit in, zone out, or study longer.
Depression and addiction can become a dangerous and deadly combination. As a result, not only do grades suffer. It could also lead to self-harming behavior and even suicide as the substance reduces inhibitions and intensifies feelings of sadness, anger, or impulsivity. Within a short time, everything in life may start coming apart.
Diagnosing Depression in Students
Let’s face it. Those last couple of years of high school, moving into the college years, are stressful. And many hard-working students have the mentality of “toughing it out,” thinking they’ll attend to emotional needs later. Unfortunately, if they’re doing this, they’re teaching themselves the wrong kind of life skill they’ll likely continue to use as they get older and depression worsens.
Parents should encourage their child to get a mental health evaluation if they notice signs of depression-like:
- Lost of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Self-harming behavior
- Drug/alcohol abuse or self-medicating behavior
- Prolonged sadness
- Inability to motivate themselves
- Social isolation
- Suicidal talk or attempts
Treating Depression & Other Mental Health Concerns
Simply medicating a student is rarely the best depression treatment. A combination of talk therapies and medication can help a student learn to manage the depression symptoms, all emotion, and life’s ups and downs.
Viewpoint Dual Recovery Center specializes in treating students with depression and substance abuse. We take a holistic approach to healing. That’s spiritual, emotional, environmental, and physical being. This “whole human” approach means we’re not merely masking symptoms but helping patients understand their emotions and develop skills that will serve them for a lifetime.
We build a personalized program around each patient based upon what they need to overcome depression and thrive. This may include levels of care and treatments, such as:
- Dual diagnosis program
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Intensive outpatient program
- Partial hospitalization program
- Outpatient treatment program
If your student is suffering from depression, you’ll find the resources they need in our depression treatment program. Please don’t wait. Call us at 855.746.3633 to speak with a caring professional.