Frequent question about alcoholism and teenage depression:
Why do teenagers get depressed and abuse alcohol?
Teenagers are experiencing major changes in their mind and body without any additional substance than their own hormones. Adolescence is the period of rapid and turbulent change which can be upsetting, confusing and above all overwhelming. Therefore it is no wonder that teenagers sometimes experience mild depression and other difficulties.
Experimenting and rebelling are common in teenagers.
Unfortunately the “sweetest” things are those that are forbidden so they experiment with cigarettes, alcohol, sex and drugs. Experimenting with both, legal and illegal, substances and having unsafe sex are the causes of many unwanted effects.
Even though adolescence is a turbulent period of life not all teenagers misbehave or get depressed. This means that those teenagers that experience depression or alcohol abuse need appropriate treatment and care so they can get better and continue their lives developing their potentials.
What is the link between alcoholism and teenage depression?
The link between alcoholism and teenage depression is that alcohol is a depressant despite its initial euphoric effect. Teenagers experiment a lot with alcohol and some of them become alcoholics which make them vulnerable to depression and other mental and physical illnesses.
Alcoholism and teenage depression are closely related in more that one way. Alcoholism can cause teenage depression but it can also prolong and deepen the already existing depressive disorder. In other words alcoholism and teenage depression (and depression in general) are the two best of friends that “nourish” and maintain one another.
Alcohol is, unfortunately, very easy to acquire and most teenagers have an easy excess to it. Therefore alcohol is number one choice of substance abuse. For example there are almost no teenage parties that are alcohol free so even those teenagers that don’t want to drink alcoholic beverages are under peer pressure to do so.
What is the best treatment for teenage depression and alcoholism?
The best treatment for alcoholism and teenage depression is the simultaneous but separate treatment of both disorders. Teenage alcoholism needs to be addressed in alcohol counseling for teenagers. Individual alcohol counseling is more successful for teenagers that are introverts whereas group therapy has more success with extravert teenagers.
Teenage depression is almost always best treated and controlled in psychotherapy. There are many types of psychotherapies available however teenagers are very responsive to cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. This does not mean that other types of psychotherapy are not successful in treating teenage depression.
The important thing to emphasize is that in order to successfully treat teenage depression, alcoholism must not be ignored. Aside from alcohol counseling and psychotherapy family therapy is also strongly recommended in case of depressed teenagers that are alcoholics.
In family therapy parents and other family members are educated about alcoholism and teenage depression. Only after they have been appropriately educated they can become an important part of their loved one’s treatment. Good intentions are not enough.
Unfortunately, many parents with good intentions but without the appropriate knowledge contribute to their teenager’s depression whit their actions. This is why family therapy should always be a part of alcoholism and teenage depression treatment.
In conclusion, every parent needs to know that there are many things they can do to help their child grow up and become a good, self-respecting individual. However, parents are not omnipotent which means no matter how good parents they may be their children (teenagers) can go sideway.
The important thing is not to blame yourself or your troubled teenager but to use all your energy and resources to help him or her and yourself. Love, understanding and support are essential for alcoholism and depression treatment and nothing can replace them.