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What Is Smiling Depression?

Person learning what smiling depression is

Your teen probably doesn’t come to you about everything. Even if you have a great relationship with them, there are some issues that might seem too embarrassing or personal for them to share. Mental health might be one of these things. They may be living with smiling depression, making you think everything is okay. But what is smiling depression?

If your teen is struggling with depression, we can help. Call 888.904.5947 to find help in our adolescent depression treatment program in Florida.

What Is Smiling Depression?

Smiling depression defies the stereotypical image of depression. Individuals appear happy on the outside, leading seemingly successful lives while internally struggling with significant emotional pain. It’s the paradox of crying on the inside while maintaining a smile that can mislead even close friends and family.

Common Smiling Depression Symptoms

Recognizing smiling depression requires an eye for subtle signs. Symptoms might be different than typical depression, including signs like:

  • Loss of interest – Your teen might continue to participate in things they once enjoyed, like sports or instrument practice, but seem checked out. They could be putting in the bare minimum, getting easily annoyed or frustrated.
  • Excessive guilt – This symptom often goes unnoticed as it’s usually internalized. Your teen might feel like they’re not good enough, no matter how much success they achieve. They could be constantly seeking approval and reassurance from others or trying to remove themselves from recognition if they feel like they didn’t live up to their own standards.
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns – With smiling depression, binge eating or insomnia are possible signs. However, these may not be extreme enough to cause noticeable weight gain or loss.
  • Unexplained aches and pains – Depression can sometimes manifest as physical symptoms. Your teen might complain about headaches, stomachaches, or other generalized pain without any apparent cause.

Without paying close attention, it can seem like nothing is wrong. Your teen still seems to be an outgoing high achiever, right?

How to Communicate When You Think Your Teen Is Struggling

If you think your teen is silently struggling with their mental health, they likely won’t be the one to come to you for help. Reaching out and normalizing conversations about mental health is essential.

  • Create a safe space – Make it clear that you are always there to listen, no matter what.
  • Educate yourself – Learn more about depression and its different forms to better understand what your teen might be experiencing.
  • Seek professional help – Don’t hesitate to reach out for additional support from a therapist or mental health professional. They can provide your teen with the necessary tools and support to manage their smiling depression.

As a parent, it’s important to remember that you are not alone in this journey. Depression is a common mental health issue among teenagers, and with early detection and proper treatment, your teen can learn to manage their symptoms and live a happy, fulfilling life.

What Is Smiling Depression Treatment Like?

Treatment for smiling depression involves a multifaceted approach tailored to the individual’s needs. Professional services might include:

  • Individual therapy – Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are pivotal in addressing thought patterns and behaviors contributing to smiling depression.
  • Experiential therapy – Including equine therapy, which helps individuals connect with their emotions in a non-verbal, healing environment.
  • Family systems therapy – To improve communication and understanding within the family unit, fostering a supportive home environment.
  • Medication management – When necessary and under careful professional guidance, medication can help reduce symptoms and provide relief.

Family First’s holistic approach encompasses these and other treatments, recognizing the importance of personalized care.

Contact Family First Adolescent Services for Help

Our experienced team of mental health professionals specializes in treating teen boys ages 13–18 dealing with mental health challenges like depression. Reach out to us online today or at 888.904.5947 to see if our treatment programs could help your son find relief from smiling depression.