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Teen Girls and Depression Disorders

Teenage Depression affects 2.8 Million, 11.4% of the adolescent population

One in three teens struggle with depression. Depression is commonly mistaken for sadness ormoodiness; however, it’s not something one can easily snap out of. While a few ups and downs, bad days, and growing pains may seem like depression, it’s often worse.  

If your teen girl is depressed, you’ve probably recognized some of the following:

  •  Withdrawal from family and friends
  •  Loss of interest in enjoyed activities
  •  Hopelessness and worthlessness
  •  Lack of energy/sleeping too much or too little
  •  Irritability, hostility, angry outbursts 
  •  Sensitivity to criticism, rejection, and failure
  •  Tearfulness and frequent crying 
  •  Suicidal thoughts/attempts

When depressive episodes occur, a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors become overwhelming and they persist over a long period. Feelings of irritability, aggression, rage, risky behavior, isolation and suicidal thoughts/attempts become the norm and interrupt school, work and social functioning.


Three Types of Depression

Depression occurs from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression is a serious mental health disorder that can be treated with individualized integrative treatment, which can range from medication, psychotherapy and holistic care. 

There are three depressive disorders that can affect teens: major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (formerly dysthymia), and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, the most common in teen girls is major depressive disorder. 

Major Depressive Disorder

With major depressive disorder, the depression can last from at least a two-week period to several years and frequently reoccur. Usually there is significant change in mood and loss of interest in activities. As a chronic illness, major depressive disorder is treated long term.  

Persistent Depressive Disorder (formerly Dysthymia) 

When depressive episodes occur they are not as intense as the symptoms of major depressive disorder, although they can be similar. The symptoms of persistent depressive disorder are continuous and last for at least two years. Usually there is a consistent negative mood and a persistent “glass half empty” mentality. 

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

Persistent irritability, aggression and frequent verbal and physical aggression are symptoms of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Usually there is a consistent feeling of unhappiness, disinterest, worthlessness and hopelessness. There are also frequent suicidal thoughts or preoccupations with death.  

Effective Ways to Treat Depression


While antidepressants can be helpful, there are better ways to treat teen depression in girls that don’t rely on medication. If prescribed for too long, antidepressants often cause depression symptoms to become more severe, especially if another mental illness co-occurs.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven to be a very effective method for changing negative thinking patterns into healthy thoughts and behaviors. CBT helps teen girls struggling with depression to address their problems in a more realistic way. In some less severe cases of depression, cognitive behavioral therapy can be extremely helpful in treating depression alone. 

Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) addresses dysregulation of intense emotions that lead to impulsivity, self-destruction and self-harming behaviors. DBT is used to help teens develop mindfulness skills by helping them understand their emotions without judging them so that they can develop healthier behaviors. 

Combine cognitive behavioral therapy with other therapies such as dialectal behavioral therapy (mindfulness training), expressive arts therapy, recreational therapy and individual and group support, and psychotherapy can be very effective in treating depression without relying on any medication. 

Teenage Suicide Infographic

Finding Help for Your Teen Girl

The most effective treatment for teen girls with depression and substance use disorder is at an accredited teen rehab facility with licensed therapists. At Teen Treatment Center, we help teen girls thrive in recovery with an individualized, integrative treatment approach such as:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 
  • Dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Family therapy 
  • Academic support
  • Recreational activities
  • Life skills training

To find out how Teen Treatment Center can help your teen girl overcome depression and substance abuse, call us today at (844) 319-5239. Our admissions counselors are always available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays. 


Pages Cited: 
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Mental Health

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