Coping with Depression, Teen

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 Managing Depression, Teen

Managing Depression, Teen

Depression is a mental health condition that can affect your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. You may feel down, blue, or sad, or you may be irritable and moody. If you have been diagnosed with depression, you may be relieved to know now why you have felt or behaved a certain way. If you are living with depression, there are ways to help you relieve the symptoms and feel better.

How to manage lifestyle changes

Managing stress

Stress is your body's reaction to life's demands. You can have stress from good things, such as a vacation, or difficult things, such as a hard test. Stress that lasts a long time can play a part in depression, so it is important to learn how to manage stress.

Try some of the following approaches for reducing your tension and helping to manage stress (stress reduction techniques):
  • If you play an instrument, take some time to play it, or listen to music that helps you feel calm.
  • Try using a meditation app.
  • Do some deep breathing. To do this, inhale slowly through your nose. Pause at the top of your inhale for a few seconds and then exhale slowly, letting yourself relax. Repeat this three or four times.

There are several other things you can do to help you manage depression, such as:
  • Spending time in nature.
  • Spending time with trusted friends who help you feel better.
  • Taking time to think about the positive things in your life.
  • Exercising, such as playing an active game with friends or going for a run or a bike ride.
  • Spending less time using electronics, especially at night before bed. Using electronic screens before bed makes your brain think it is time to get up rather than go to bed.
  • Limit how much time you watch TV or play video games. These activities might feel good for a while, but in the end, they are a way to avoid the feelings of depression.


Antidepressants are often prescribed by a health care provider to ease the symptoms of depression. When used together, medicines, psychotherapy, and stress reduction techniques are often the most effective treatment.

Medicines take time to work. You may not notice the full benefits of your medicine for 4–8 weeks.
  • Do not stop taking your medicine. Talk to your health care provider and have a plan to lower your dose safely.


Relationships are important to people throughout their lives. Friends and family can be great resources to help you deal with the difficult feelings you get from depression. Talk to family and friends when things are becoming difficult. You may also want to talk with a therapist. A relationship with a therapist may be very important to helping you manage your depression.

How to recognize changes

Everyone responds differently to treatment for depression. Recovery from depression happens when your symptoms have gone away and you may:
  • Have more interest in doing activities.
  • Feel hopeful again.
  • Have more energy.
  • Have fewer problems with eating too much or too little food.
  • Have better mental focus.

If you find your depression does not change, you may still:
  • Have problems sleeping or waking, feel tired all the time, or have trouble focusing.
  • Have changes in your appetite. You may lose or gain weight without trying.
  • Have constant headaches or stomachaches.
  • Want to be alone or avoid interacting with others.
  • Lack interest in doing the things you usually like to do.
  • Feel angry or irritated most of the time.
  • Think about death, or consider suicide.
  • Use alcohol, drugs, or tobacco or nicotine products.

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Spend time with trusted friends who help you feel better.
  • Get some form of activity each day, such as walking, biking, or any movement activity you enjoy.
  • Practice self-calming and other stress reduction techniques.


  • Get the right amount and quality of sleep.
  • Do not use drugs. Do not drink alcohol.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein. Do not eat a lot of foods that are high in solid fats, added sugars, or salt (sodium).

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider. Tell your health care provider about the positive and negative effects you are having from your medicines.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Where to find support

Talking to others

Although depression is serious, support is available. Resources may include:
  • Suicide prevention, crisis prevention, and depression hotlines.
  • School teachers, counselors, coaches, or clergy.
  • Parents or other family members.
  • Trusted friends.
  • Support groups.

Therapy and support groups

You can locate a counselor or support group from one of these sources:

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You stop taking your antidepressant medicines, and you have any of these symptoms:
    • Nausea.
    • Headache.
    • Light-headedness.
    • Chills and body aches.
    • Not being able to sleep (insomnia).
  • You or your friends and family think your depression is getting worse.

Get help right away if:

  • You feel suicidal and are planning suicide.
  • You are drinking or using drugs excessively.
  • You are cutting yourself or thinking about it.
  • You are thinking about hurting others and are making a plan to do so.

If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others, or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. Go to your nearest emergency department or:
  • Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
  • Call a suicide crisis helpline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 988 in the U.S. This is open 24 hours a day in the U.S.
  • Text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 (in the U.S.).


  • There are ways to help you relieve your symptoms of depression.
  • Work with your health care provider on a care plan that includes stress reduction techniques, medicines (if applicable), therapy, and healthy lifestyle habits.
  • A relationship with a therapist may be very important to helping you manage your depression.
  • If you have thoughts about taking your own life, call a suicide crisis helpline or text a crisis text line.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.