Most adults expect teens to go through a period of mood swings, physical changes, and social discomfort during adolescence. With all the hormonal shifts and lifestyle changes experienced throughout the teen years, the crying jags, poor self-esteem, and moodiness mayother issues may all seem rather normal.
Unfortunately, a wealth of data available from researchers indicates that major depression is also an increasing issue for teens in the United States – and it’s not something that should be ignored as a typical phase of adolescence. And for many adolescents, traditional treatments, such as antidepressant medications, may only worsen the issue.
Dr. Rameen Ghorieshi is a top-rated, dual board-certified psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist who leads our highly skilled mental and physical health care team here at Palo Alto Mind Body. Our uniquely skilled team in the San Francisco Bay Area also includes a psychopharmacologist, acupuncturist, and functional medicine researcher.
We’re well-experienced with the difficulties associated with treating adolescent depression, and we design personalized treatment plans that are patient-focused. We’ve found significant success in using medically supervised ketamine therapy for severe or long-term depression in adolescents that’s otherwise been treatment-resistant.
The effects of untreated depression in adolescents
Untreated depression can lead to academic problems, alcohol and other substance abuse, significant difficulties in social relationships, legal issues, and suicide. Studies reported by The National Institute of Mental Health note that although 70% of teens with major depression are considered “significantly impaired” by the disorder, 60% of the adolescents with major depressive episode don’t receive any treatment at all.
Symptoms of teen depression
No matter how well you know your teen, it’s often hard to tell what’s “normal” for an adolescent versus what behaviors and attitudes may indicate an issue with depression.
Warning signs may include behavioral changes such as:
- Persistent agitation or restlessness with frequent pacing or the inability to sit still
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Refusal to participate in previously enjoyable activities, such as sports
- Changes in appetite leading to excessive weight loss or weight gain
- Decreased academic performance or frequent school absences
Emotional changes that may indicate depression in your teen include:
- Persistent and unexplained feelings of sadness that may cause sudden crying spells
- Angry outbursts over seemingly trivial matters that may lead to physical aggression
- Feelings of overwhelming and persistent guilt regarding past mistakes and perceived failures
- Belief that the future holds little hope
- Heightened interest in death and suicide
Many times, determining whether your teen is experiencing symptoms of depression comes down to your parental instincts that something is not quite right. We encourage parents to always consult a mental health professional for worries over their teen’s behavior or emotions. It never hurts to ask.
Treating teen depression with ketamine infusion
At Palo Alto Mind Body, we provide a wide variety of treatment modalities for teen depression, which may include medications, counseling, and functional medicine techniques designed to ensure your teen’s physical and emotional well-being.
Because many teens are resistant to typical antidepressant medications or have an unintended and opposite reaction to these powerful drugs with increasing depression and suicidality, Dr. Ghorieshi is very careful when prescribing medications for his adolescent patients.
He’s found that ketamine therapy, delivered through an intravenous (IV) infusion, is a very safe and effective treatment for adolescents experiencing major depressive disorder. One of the many benefits of ketamine therapy for teen depression is that it’s very fast-acting, often lifting depressive symptoms within just a couple of hours.
Traditional antidepressants such as Prozac are approved by the FDA for treating teen depression but can take six weeks or more if ever, to become effective. The speed with which ketamine works often helps your teen process other beneficial therapies, such as counseling, without the cloud of a depressed mood filtering the positive effects.
And ketamine therapy is safe when it’s supervised by a trained mental health care expert. It was first developed for use as a pediatric anesthetic, and the low doses used with ketamine IV infusions are considered both safe and effective for treating teen depression.
Palo Alto Mind Body, located in Palo Alto, California and serving patients throughout the Silicon Valley and greater San Francisco Bay Area, provides leading-edge medical, functional medicine, and psychotherapy solutions for a wide range of mental and physical health issues. This includes state-of-the-art IV ketamine Infusion therapy for treatment-resistant depression, addiction, PTSD, and chronic pain. For a consultation regarding teen depression or other mental health issues, call us at 650-681-2900.