treating teens with depression

Residential Treatment for Teenage Depression

Treating Teen Depression

Elk River provides tools needed to live happy and productive lives

The Elk River Treatment Program (ERTP) has helped hundreds of teens suffering from a myriad of issues, mental illnesses and conditions, including depression and Bipolar Disorder.

Elk River specializes in cognitive behavior modification and physician-directed medication management in a safe and healthy environment. Because diagnosis is complex and involves careful observation over an extended period of time, a residential setting such as ERTP is much preferred over a short stay in an acute facility or intensive outpatient care. To stabilize a patient struggling with an illness as severe as depression or Bipolar Disorder, a short stay in an acute hospital setting may be necessary, followed by intense therapy in a residential program that specializes in caring for adolescents like ERTP.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, about 5 percent of children and adolescents in the general population suffer from depression at any given point in time. At a higher risk for depression are children under stress, who experience loss, or who have attentional learning, conduct or anxiety disorders. Because an adolescent may not always seem sad, parents may not realize that troublesome behavior is a sign of depression.

Children and teenagers with symptoms of Bipolar Disorder have manic and/or depressive symptoms. Some may have mostly depression and others a combination of manic and depressive symptoms. Highs may alternate with lows. "When parents are completing an application for admission, they may believe their child is suffering from a manic state when in actuality, they are exhibiting symptoms of drug use - prescription drugs or illegal drugs," explained Elk River's Director of Admission Kathy DeMellier. "It isn't until the child is in residential treatment, with no access to illegal substances, that we can get a clear picture of what is going on," DeMellier said.

In other cases, the child maybe self-medicating depression, anxiety or manic disorders with Xanax or marijuana. He or she is admitted to Elk River with a "substance abuse" diagnosis when in actuality a dual diagnosis exists.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for children who suffer from depression and/or Bipolar Disorder. ERTP utilizes a multidisciplinary treatment team led by a child, adolescent and forensic psychiatrist and experienced staff to supervise patients 24/7 to determine a clear diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan for each resident.

Treatment includes consistent individual, group and family therapy to help a child adapt to stresses, rebuild self-esteem and improve relationships. Treatment may also include the use of antidepressant medication or mood stabilizing medications that often help prevent depression and reduce the number and severity of manic episodes. Medication is managed by a Child, Adolescent and Forensic Psychiatrist who oversees the multidisciplinary Treatment Team at ERTP.

Depression & Bipolar Disorder Symptoms Similar

Symptoms of Depression in Teens Include:

  • Irritability, depressed mood, persistent sadness, frequent crying
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Loss of enjoyment in favorite activities
  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches or stomach ache
  • Low energy level, fatigue, poor concentration, complaints of boredom
  • Major change in eating or sleeping patterns, such as oversleeping or overeating

Symptoms of Bipolar/Manic Disorder in Teens Include:

  • Severe changes in mood, either unusually happy or silly or very irritable, angry, agitated or aggressive
  • Unrealistic highs in self-esteem – for example, a teenager who feels all powerful or like a superhero with special powers
  • Great increase in energy and the ability to go with little or no sleep for days without feeling tired
  • Increase in talking – the adolescent talks too much, too fast, changes topics too quickly, and cannot be interrupted
  • Distraction – the teen’s attention moves constantly from one thing to the next
  • Repeated high risk-taking behavior, such as abusing alcohol and drugs, reckless driving, or sexual promiscuity