Depression Treatment Centers for Teens and Adolescents
Depression is often characterized as “feeling low,” gloominess, or sadness. In more extreme cases, depression can also be defined as a mental health condition incorporating intense feelings of despair, worthlessness, and hopelessness. But whether the depression affecting an individual manifests itself as simple moodiness or intense and unrelenting feelings of despair, it can be a major issue that interferes with a teen’s ability to lead a healthy, happy life. That’s when depression treatment centers may be able to help.
At Red Mountain Colorado, we define depression as “a debilitating state of sadness that persists with a person over a long period of time.” The degree may vary, but the constant manifestation of this type of emotion concerns us greatly. It is difficult to have the confidence to live independently when you are constantly unhappy, without internal feelings that spark possibility or hope.
If you are interested in learning more about how our mindfulness-based program may be a good fit for your teen, this guide is meant to be comprehensive, but as such, not every section will be applicable to everyone. Instead, we invite you to click on the links in the table of contents to jump to the sections that most interest you.
How Does Red Mountain Colorado Help Teens with Depression?
Red Mountain Colorado students have typically ignored important personal needs related to their physical, emotional, and psychological well being.
Along with integrating mindfulness techniques into individual and group therapy, our students are taught self-advocacy, which means standing up for themselves to rebuild those parts their self-esteem. Self-advocacy involves learning to:
- Make positive decisions about one’s own life
- Protect one’s self
- Ask for help when needed
- Advance one’s life through sound strategy and a well-thought-out design.
Self-advocacy is also seeking and obtaining the knowledge needed to succeed, and taking responsibility for all the decisions that lead to a positive future. The outcome of practicing self-advocacy is a healthy self-image, renewed and robust self-confidence, optimism, and the end of self-sabotaging behaviors.
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How Do Red Mountain Students Cope with Depression?
Before their arrival, many of Red Mountain Colorado’s teens have experienced long periods of depressive episodes, which either led to self-medication as a means of finding relief or kept them from being confident and comfortable in their own skin. They often take up various negative behaviors to dull the pain, attempting to find some sort of alternative.
Teenage students sometimes arrive at RMC with these poor habits, which are actually symptoms of the depression they have been trying to overcome. The reverse can also be true; some students fell into a pattern of depression after stopping other coping mechanisms that were no longer working. In these cases, depression can emerge in the aftermath of battling negative behaviors.
Depression can also occur alongside anxiety or other mood issues. In fact, most RMC students have experienced some form of depression prior to their arrival. We expect that most of them will likely deal with this problem on some level after their arrival. Therefore, we view this condition as something we expect and are prepared to address.
Symptoms of Depression in Teens
Our society tends to use depression and sadness interchangeably. While sadness is an integral part of depression, it is also a normal human emotion that is often an inevitable response to difficult life events. When we talk about treatment for depression, our goal is not to tell teens that feeling sad is a warning sign that something is “wrong” with them. Through mindfulness, we teach students to become more aware of their emotions, where they come from, and how they feel in their bodies. By developing a more in-depth emotional vocabulary, teens become more accepting of their emotions rather than trying to resist how they feel.
Many teens develop depression because sitting with feelings of sadness, anger, and shame bring up a lot of discomfort. Resisting this discomfort can lead to some of the following symptoms of depression over time:
- Feelings of hopelessness about the future
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Irritability or impulsivity
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Social withdrawal
- Low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness
Effects of Teen Depression
“Mild depression,” meaning “a mild state of sadness or feelings of hopelessness,” is actually anything but mild. Depression is painful, and mild depression, though occurring on a smaller scale, is still very real and dangerous. Persistent mild depression is described as a “lowered or depressed interest in normal activities such as friends, school, work, etc.” So-called mild depression can interfere with, or slow down, the process of recovery or gaining the confidence to live happily and independently.
“Debilitating depression” is a completely different matter. It is a dark mood that persists and ultimately interferes with a person’s ability to function in life. Those afflicted with debilitating depression cannot properly engage in their own lives and, if necessary, take the necessary steps in the launch process. It is not unusual for students with long-term issues and other non-working behaviors to face debilitating bouts of depression.
Although depression is not the typical human experience, with those who struggle with trauma and risky behavior, some form of depression is almost inevitable. Therefore, at our depression treatment centers for teens, we are prepared to provide treatment for depression to all of our students.
Our main concern is that depression greatly diminishes a person’s ability to function, and can prevent anyone from staying focused on healing – if it gets to be too much, there is a tendency to give up. Therefore, the effective treatment of depression is one of our highest priorities.
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Benefits of Depression Treatment Centers for Teens
There are two stages of recovery for teens with depression. The first stage involves developing healthier habits, like stopping using negative coping behaviors, eating healthy meals, sleeping an appropriate amount, exercising, and engaging in healthy activities of all kinds. These lifestyle factors can help teens improve their mood and regulate their emotions so that they are more prepared to cope with life’s challenges. Most treatment centers for depression focus on helping teens reach the first stage of recovery and provide a map for how to apply these skills in other areas of their lives.
The second stage of recovery from depression involves self-realization and empowerment, which helps teens move beyond depression, not just to cope with these feelings when they arise. By focusing on helping teens reach this second stage, Red Mountain Colorado goes beyond traditional treatment methods for depression. Participating in adventure activities, engaging in community service, achieving academic success, and other positive experiences help our students to overcome depression in a very powerful way.
All of our students engage in a daily mix of therapeutic activities created for the purpose of healing their body, mind, and spirit. These include adventure therapy, mindfulness, meditation, individual therapy, community groups, community service projects, martial arts training, and vigorous physical activity. Students also eat a healthy diet and are provided opportunities for plenty of rest and sleep. Together, these combined interventions work synergistically, and our students—including those dealing with depression—stay engaged in the healing process and grow at a rapid rate.
At RMC, we help teens find happiness and meaning in their lives that should come naturally. We help them develop skills to create pathways around life’s difficult corners, and provide them with the tools to turn their innate potential into reality. We are advocates of change and make it our mission to help students put an end to all harmful, self-defeating behaviors. These behaviors are replaced with habits that instill self-esteem, confidence and self-determination.
Those who are afflicted with depression often feel there is a wall between themselves and true happiness. At Red Mountain Colorado, we help our students tear down the wall and experience the joy of healthy living on the other side.