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Get to Know the Signs of Teen Depression and Drug-Free Treatment For It

When your teen son or daughter is going through a rough patch they may begin to display signs of depression. This is a common mood disorder among the teen age group. There are many factors that might spark the depression, and that includes the effects of the pandemic.

Teens that struggle with depression are at a higher of for self-harm or suicide. It is true that rates of suicide among young people are on the rise. Parents should become familiar with the symptoms and signs of depression and to respond in a timely manner. There are many ways to treat teens with mood issues, and that includes TMS.

TMS is a brain stimulation technique that is safe and effective for treating depression without drugs. TMS has been a widely used treatment for depression since 2007. Read on to learn all about TMS and how it may help your teen overcome depression.

What Are the Signs of Depression?

Teen depression affects 20.1% of young people between the ages of 12-17. This equates to about 5 million adolescents dealing with symptoms of depression. Rates are higher among girls, possibly due to their constant hormone changes.

Get to know the symptoms of teen depression:

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or despair
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Being hostile or angry
  • Sleep problems, insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Slowed movements and cognitive functioning
  • Loss of interest in the activities usually enjoyed
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or shame
  • Easily upset
  • Mood swings
  • Apathy
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Frequent headaches or stomach distress
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Skipping school
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

When symptoms of depression do not resolve within two weeks, it is time to see a doctor for assessment.

What Causes Depression?

There are many things that could spark depression in a teen. School demands can become too stressful. Social struggles are also common during the teen years. Some teens wrestle with gender identity, which can cause depression. Social media bullying is also rampant. A teen feeling they don’t fit in can also lead to sadness and despair.

Risk factors for teen depression might include:

  • Hormones. Age-related hormone changes can trigger symptoms of depression.
  • Genes. When a parent or grandparent had depression there is a greater chance of the teen also becoming depressed.
  • Trauma. A childhood history of physical or sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment, or any trauma they live through can be a factor for depression.
  • Lack of coping skills. Some teens have not yet acquired the skills to help them manage stress, frustrations, or disappointment in a mature manner.
  • Brain chemistry. Some teens may have a brain chemistry imbalance, which is where TMS can help.
  • Personality. Some teens are more passive, unable to stand up for themselves. There are traits that are hardwired into us all. These affect how we respond to stressors or negative life events.

During the COVID-19 era, many teens are really suffering in so many ways. Their futures feel uncertain to them. The milestones they had been planning for are now on hold. Teens who relied on a sports scholarship have been largely unable to play their chosen sport. Normal social events have been altered. All of these things have left our teens feeling off balance and depressed.

What is TMS?

TMS offers a drug-free treatment option for teens with symptoms of depression. TMS has been studied for years and has been found to be both safe and effective. It offers an option for parents who are not on board with drug treatment for depression.

The teen will receive the TMS treatments in an office setting for 4-6 weeks. He or she will be fully awake during the treatments, which take about 40 minutes each time. After the TMS treatment session the teen is able to resume normal activities.

How TMS works is straight forward. The teen is seated and alert as a coil is place over the scalp. It is through the coil that the electro-magnetic pulses are given These are aimed at the limbic region of the brain in the frontal lobe.

As the pulses enter the scalp the teen will feel a light tapping on the head. This tapping is very well tolerated. Most teens just pass the time during the treatment by watching TV or scrolling their smartphones.

The magnetic fields then stimulate the brain cells in the limbic system, which is how TMS helps reduce the symptoms. After about ten TMS treatment sessions the teen will begin to feel better. They notice they are sleeping better, are more alert, and, overall, are in a better mood. Follow up treatments are planned a couple times during the year to maintain the treatment effects.

TMS has very few side effects. Some teens may complain of a mild headache, scalp tenderness, or some facial numbness. All of these side effects will resolve on their own.

How TMS with Psychotherapy Can Help Teens With Depression

Teens who struggle with depression find that a combo of therapy with TMS treatments can really help their depression symptoms. Therapy is a core treatment, as it helps the teen address any issues that might be factors in the depression. Often there are social issues, abuse, family problems, or substance abuse that contribute to the mood disorder.

With the therapy helping the teen sort out their feelings and behavior patterns, TMS can enhance the treatment outcome. This is because TMS helps to bring their brain chemistry back into a balance. Many times, people with depression have sluggish neurons. The TMS magnetic pulses speed these brain cells up, helping to normalize them. Together with the therapy, TMS can help the teen push through the depression.

BNI Treatment Centers Provides TMS for Teen Depression

BNI Treatment Centers is a leader in the treatment of teen mental health disorders. BNI offers TMS as an alternative to antidepressant drugs, a treatment option that is drug-free. The residential program offers teens a perfect space to work through any issues that relate to the depression. The combination of TMS and therapy, with a tailored treatment plan, can truly make all the difference. Call our team today with any questions about our teen mental health program at (888) 522-1504.

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