Rising Depression Among American Teens

Depression is sometimes referred to as a non-discriminatory illness because it affects every age, every race, and every socio-economic group of people. That said, no group is more vulnerable or at risk of depression's devastating effects if left untreated than teenage girls. However, there is one treatment that has shown revolutionary signs of becoming the best tool in fighting treatment-resistant depression. And it couldn't have come at a better time. 

By The Numbers

According to a Pew Research Center analysis from 2017: 

  • 13% of teens between the ages of 12 to 17 (3.2 million) claim to have suffered from one or more significant episodes brought on by depression. These numbers are 8% more than the previous survey which was conducted in 2007. 
  • Teenage girls in America are three times as likely to suffer from depression than boys.
  • 20% of teenage girls (2.4 million) have had at least one depressive episode within the previous year (2016)
  • Only 7 % of teenage boys from 2017 claimed to have suffered from a depressive episode.
  • The rate of growth of teenage girls who experience depression rose 59% between 2007 and 2017; the increase was faster for girls (66%) than it was for males (44%) 
  • Teenage girls were also more likely to receive professional psychiatric treatment than males - 45% of depressed girls receive treatment than only 33% of boys.

What's worse, suicide is currently the third-leading cause of death among teenage girls. Suffice it to say; provenly effective and cutting-edge depression treatments are needed to quelch the ever-rising number of treatment-resistant depression in our youth. 

Luckily, there is a relatively new and clinically effective treatment that many believe to be the new revolution in psychiatric intervention, known as neurofeedback. 

What is Neurofeedback? 

Neurofeedback is a less fancy name for a groundbreaking brain-based psychiatric practice known as electroencephalogram (EEG) feedback. EEG works by analyzing the brain and providing patients with feedback on their analyzed brain signals. 

By responding to the neurotransmitted feedback of EEG, patients are literally able to restructure the neurons in their brain, thereby fortifying their brain's function and ability to respond to a myriad of neurological issues such as: 

  • Seizures
  • Autism 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related conditions
  • Cognitive loss due to age progression. 

Relieving The Symptoms of Depression With Neurofeedback After Traditional Means Don’t Work

Depression is the most common and devastating mental illness affecting youth in America. The commonness of depression sometimes overshadows its severity of it. After all, everyone feels symptoms of depression from time to time. However, there is a major difference between feeling sad and suffering from a mental illness that, if left untreated, can cause suicidal ideation. As previously stated, suicide is the third most common cause of death among teenage girls. 

Editor’s Note: It should be noted that any individuals who experience symptoms of depression for more than 14 days should seek the immediate services of a mental health professional - especially those who have experienced suicidal thoughts or ideations. 

Seeking help for their daughter’s depression should be the top priority of every parent. The most popular form of therapy includes one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist and seeing a psychiatrist who is able to prescribe anti-depressant medications for those who live with major depressive disorder.

However, when traditional therapy and medication don’t work, parents often feel as though they are helpless in helping their children combat the dangers of depression. What’s worse, many anti-depressants are actually known to cause more adverse symptoms and most have a very low-efficiency rating in treating depressed teenagers. 

Enter neurofeedback, a cutting-edge, unmedicated treatment that is quickly becoming the most popular form of therapy to treat treatment-resistant depression in teens. 

How it Works

Neurofeedback is a computer-based therapy where licensed therapists place electrodes on the scalp over each part of the brain. By initiating brain activity by having the patient engage in various exercises, the therapist can increase what is known as alpha brainwaves on the right side, while reducing them on the left side of the brain.

As the left side of the brain becomes more active, patients are able to re-train their brain’s functions. This retraining of the brain’s neuropathways often allows the patient to feel more positive in their moods and more able to overcome their brain’s defunctions where they were previously unable.

By continuously repeating this process over an extended period of time, therapists are able to diminish the excess of frontal alpha brainwaves while their relief from depressive symptoms becomes more permanent. 

For parents currently seeking a treatment center for their troubled teen who also suffers from clinical depression, it is advised to use a residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school that offers alternative and dynamic treatments such as neurofeedback. 

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