Depression is one of the most common mental health problems affecting adolescents. In addition to feeling sad, irritable, and depressed for weeks or months at a time, symptoms can also include feeling worthless and hopeless, having frequent thoughts about death or more serious thoughts about harming or killing oneself. Depression can involve the loss of enjoyment or interest in activities, changes in eating and sleeping habits, and trouble concentrating. Depression typically leads to significant interference with daily aspects of life, such as declining performance in school, isolation from friends, and increasing withdrawal, and conflict with family members.
Anxiety is a common negative emotion that involves feeling nervous, scared, afraid, or worried. Usually we feel anxious when we think something bad is about to happen. Although everyone experiences anxiety, some adolescents begin to feel so anxious or worried that they experience significant levels of distress that become disruptive to their daily lives. The anxiety can be focused on specific situations or events or a general worry about many different things. This level of anxiety is often accompanied by frequent anxious or worry thoughts and physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, headaches, and muscle tension. It can also lead to a behavioral pattern of avoidance of situations or events that cause high levels of worry and anxiety, which often negatively affect involvement in school and relationships with peers and family.
Currently, there is more evidence available to support the effectiveness of a treatment approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat children or adolescents with a wide range of psychological difficulties than for any other treatment approach. CBT has been shown through research studies to be effective at treating anxiety disorders and depression. CBT is usually a short-term, time-limited treatment that focuses on teaching clients specific coping skills to address the current problem. CBT differs from other therapy approaches in that it focuses on the ways that a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected and affect one another.
The Behavioral Therapy Program for Depression and Anxiety is a cognitive behavioral therapy approach for adolescents who may be experiencing symptoms of sadness, irritability, stress, and worry or anxiety. CBT groups consist of eight sessions that provide a foundation for learning and practicing CBT skills in a supportive group environment. Adolescents entering the group will be evaluated for baseline depressive and anxiety symptoms, as well as periodically during and at the end of their treatment to assess progress. Individual CBT is also provided.
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