Depression in adolescents, especially in mid to late adolescence, is a common psychological health problem that can lead to adverse health outcomes if unrecognized or not treated. Untreated depressed adolescents experience mild to severe irritability and substance abuse (Beirão et al., 2020). The most significant concern is the impact of depression on both non-suicidal self-harm behaviors and adolescents’ overt suicidal thoughts and behaviors. These devastating consequences of depression heighten the need for medical intervention.
Although there are limited studies on the types of treatment for depressed adolescents, recent studies have demonstrated promising interventions, including psychotherapeutic and pharmacologic. Cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective treatment option for depressed adolescents. This approach is based on the idea that developing new strategies to think, understand events, and interact with the environment is the best way to treat depressed adolescents (Callesen et al., 2020). The cognitive aspect of this intervention helps adolescents identify and change their negative assumptions, beliefs, pessimistic thoughts while interpreting these events to develop new optimistic ways of thinking (Välimäki et al., 2017). Therefore, the behavioral component of this approach increases constructive interactions with people to improve the possibility of getting positive feedback.
Although there are other treatment interventions for depressed adolescents, such as interpersonal and parental guidance, no specific guidelines have been documented to decide on the type of psychotherapy (Maslow et al., 2015). The psychotherapist can be stranded on the types of psychotherapy, psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of medication and psychotherapy to begin with. This confusion leaves the researcher with no option but to make critical reasoning and judgment on the best approach to provide the best outcome.
A Case Study of Brady
In the case of Brady, a 15-year male Caucasian, who exhibited below-average intelligence and emotional functioning, several factors might have risked his life from developing depression and suicidal ideation or thought. Plummer et al. (2014), both Brady and his father were disturbed by unresolved grief due to the death of Brady’s mother. Steve, his father, was resistant to his own mental health needs and, added to his angry and troublesome nature, could have affected his relationship with Brady. In addition, Brady was not receiving proper evaluation and intervention for his presentation of developmental delays or disabilities. These harsh conditions affected Brady’s emotional being, thereby heightening his risk of developing depression or committing suicide.
To treat Brady’s disorder, adopting cognitive behavior therapies as appropriate. In this case, the clinician would help the patient recognize the above risk factors as unfavourable and help him eliminate them as follows. First, the clinician will make Brady understand that his problem is triggered by his mother’s death, poor relationship with his father, and lack of intervention to overcome developmental disabilities. The clinician would then engage the patient with a series of questions to help him reflect on his experience and then explore the possible solution. By taking the patient through an interactive question-answer session, the clinician will demonstrate to Brady how to overcome challenging situations. Finally, the clinicians will help the patient change his negative thoughts, emotions, and habits and adopt positive behavioral patterns. His father should also be counseled and asked to be supportive of his child.
Beirão, D., Monte, H., Amaral, M., Longras, A., Matos, C., & Villas-Boas, F. (2020). Depression in adolescence: A review. Middle East current psychiatry, 27(1), 1-9. Web.
Callesen, P., Reeves, D., Heal, C., & Wells, A. (2020). Metacognitive therapy versus cognitive behaviour therapy in adults with major depression: A parallel single-blind randomized trial. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-10.
Maslow, G. R., Dunlap, K., & Chung, R. J. (2015). Depression and Suicide in Children and Adolescents. Paediatrics in Review, 36(7), 299-308. Web.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: A case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.
Välimäki, M., Anttila, K., Anttila, M., & Lahti, M. (2017). Web-based interventions supporting adolescents and young people with depressive symptoms: Systematic review and meta-analysis. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 5(12), e180. Web.