Understanding that your child may be depressed can lead you to question your own parenting skills. However the best way to support your child is not to look inward, but redirect attention away from yourself and focus on your their feelings and what may have brought them to this deep sadness in the first place.
Depression is a self-consuming disease that, when manifested, may seem as a personal offense to others, especially loved ones. One of the many arduous tasks involved in loving and supporting someone with depression is to rationalize yourself into this understanding, that your teenager's anger and sadness are not reflections on you but of themselves and their own self-view. Extract the initial emotional response of offense and guide yourself into an objective mindset where you can best love and support your child and find them the best treatment for depression.
It is also imperative to understand that adolescence is an incredibly isolating time for a young person. In addition to the strains and stresses of this time of life, depressed teens also experience frequent sadness, hopelessness, persistent boredom, increased irritability, hostility, difficulty with relationships and major changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. As a result, the same experts say that these feelings have a dangerously high chance of interfering with your child's ability to function. Depression and the anxiety, bipolar, and anti-social personality disorders are often intertwined, breeding grounds for substance abuse. Children with a family history of substance abuse disorders, children who are depressed, have low self-esteem and/or feel that they may not fit in are very likely to abuse substances.
The close link between depression and its many other siblings like anxiety, bipolar, and eating disorders and their relation to substance abuse has been the focus of dual diagnosis treatment. This approach , spear headed by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef 25 years ago, is common practice at Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, FL, a drug and alcohol treatment center that excels in digging into and working to resolve the psychological triggers behind addiction.
Treatment at Fairwinds is family dependent. Families are asked to be heavily involved in their loved one's recovery, and this is even more imperative for young people. Research shows that addiction affected persons have more chances of successfully completing therapy with strong family involvement. Furthermore, high family participation is the best indicator of successful living after therapy. For children and adolescents who are still highly malleable, a meaningful therapy experience can make them healthier adults, more likely to seek out help sooner should any type of issue arise in their future lives. In addition, and perhaps most importantly for you, as a parent, attending sessions with your teen may enlighten you on their disease, their decisions and help you help them to sustaining sobriety.