Student life is stressful. Everyone in school, at some point, gets overwhelmed and starts feeling down. But there’s a clear line between a tough stretch and a diagnosis of depression. We all feel sad at times. Unlike sadness, depression is not always brought on by a singular event or situation. It’s also more intense and chronic than these inevitable blue periods.
Depression also requires intervention. You don’t just “snap out of it.” It’s a mental illness often related to genetic and biological factors. Regardless of its cause, depression is treatable and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an excellent choice.
A Few of the Many School-Age Stressors
Of course, these vary from person to person. However, there are some general categories that can add tension to a young adult’s life, e.g.
- Academic Stress
- Social Life
- Dating and Sex
- Rites of Passage
- Post-Graduation Plans
- Pressure From Family Members
- Juggling Work, School, and Play
- Financial Concerns
Teenagers and young adults with depression may display signs and symptoms like:
- Choosing to isolate or withdrawal
- A type of sadness that becomes all-consuming
- Mood swings — including anger outbursts and irritability
- Feelings like guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and self-blame
Left unchecked, depression can escalate to self-harming and thoughts of death and suicide. This is all the more reason to explore the many benefits DBT can offer students.
Why DBT For Depression?
DBT, which is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, has a history of strong results for young adults with depression. Here’s just a brief sampling:
- Young adults with depression were split into two groups. Thirty-one percent of the medication-only group were in remission after one year. The remission rate for those treated with medication and DBT was 75 percent.
- DBT led a group of 77 self-injurious teens to lower rates levels of self-harm, suicidal ideation, and general depression than other treatment options.
- In a six-month study of highly suicidal adolescents, DBT resulted in a greater reduction of self-harming behavior than all other modalities.
4 Ways DBT Can Help Students Manage Depression
This is where the “Dialectical” part comes into play. DBT helps young people juggle their varied emotions. They are encouraged to accept them, yet also create a template for change. Emotional regulation is a major piece of DBT treatment.
It comes in handy with all that most students are trying to balance.
2. Distress Tolerance
This is another hallmark of DBT. Difficult emotions are unavoidable. Accepting them can decrease the amount of suffering they cause. In addition, this process lessens the impact of depression. It gives the student some breathing room.
This space is valuable with asking for help and following through on therapy-related skills.
3. Improved Relationships
Students must navigate an astonishing range of relationships, for example:
- Study partners
- Teachers and tutors
- Sports teammates and coaches
- Friends and roommates
- Romantic and sexual partners
DBT improves what’s called “interpersonal effectiveness.” When you can manage your relationships in a healthy manner, you avoid the kinds of situations that exacerbate depression.
4. Staying Present
Yet another DBT mainstay is mindfulness. Depression does a powerful job of bringing you away from the present moment. When you’re not grounded, you may ruminate over the past. You may also dread the future.
With the help of your DBT counselor, mindfulness practice will improve your self-awareness. In this state, you can see with more clarity. It is where recovery and healing become far more likely.
Roughly 13 percent of U.S. teens suffer from depression. Some 5,000 teens die from suicide each year. Depression amongst students must be taken seriously. Dialectical Behavior Therapy might be your best option.
Let’s connect and talk about this treatment option.
Click here for more information on depression treatment.