Treating depression

How do know you if you have a depression?

You may be the one to notice that you are bothered by something or that you have problems, but it may also be your parents or teachers at school who notice this. The first action often taken is visiting a general practitioner or the Youth Care Agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg). If they think that you might have depression, you will be referred to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist. Finding out the cause of your negative feelings is an important part of this treatment. By conducting interviews and tests, they will examine where your problems come from and how you can be helped. It is possible that your problems are related not only to depression, but also to other things. You may, for example, be extremely scared of certain things or extremely irritable and short-tempered.

Will it go away?

Depression often does go away. However, it may be the case that it sometimes comes back into your life. This often also depends on the extent of the problems you experienced due to depression.

It may be that a depression lasts longer in adolescents than in older individuals. It is very important to seek assistance quickly in order to reduce the length of the depression. This also reduces the chances of the depression returning.


When your problems are better identified, a psychologist will work with you and your parents to design a good plan to help you feel better. It may be that you will also talk with a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a doctor who decides whether you also need medication to help you feel better.

There are different types of treatment:

For yourself

  • Psychoeducation: You learn about what exactly your problems are and how they come about. This helps you deal with them better and gain more self-confidence. You also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of treatment.
  • Behavioural therapy: Behavioural therapy helps you learn how to deal with depression. This means that you learn how best to act in various situations. Behavioural therapy can take the form of individual or group sessions. During sessions, you learn how to worry less or whether what you think actually makes sense, among other things. You also learn how to think more about positive things. Behavioural therapy teaches you to think differently. Why? When you’re depressed, you often worry and see everything in a negative light. You begin to see things in a way that don’t reflect reality at all; for example, that you’re not good at anything. Training teaches you to examine your gloomy thoughts. If they don’t make sense, you replace them with thoughts that are much more positive.
  • Medication: When you do not improve through treatment, a psychiatrist may also say that you have to take medication. However, this does not happen often in individuals under the age of 17. Medication can help you begin to feel better. However, medication does not help everyone – it may, in fact, make some people feel worse. That’s why they monitor how you are doing and, if things are not going well, you can discontinue the medication, change the dose or switch to another medication.

For your parents

  • Family therapy: It is also very important that your parents know what the problem is and how they can deal with it. Your parents learn, for example, how they can help you with some things. Your family or environment can support and help you with your problems; You don’t have to do it all on your own.

What can you do on your own?

Practical things, like:

  • Physical activity. You don’t necessarily have to exercise or play sports, but taking a little walk each day can already help.
  • It is better not to drink and/or smoke pot.
  • Don’t set goals for yourself that are too ambitious, or you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
  • Try to establish a day-and-night rhythm, which will give you structure.
  • Try to stay/get in touch with others, perhaps over the Internet if that is easier for you.

It can also help to do these things with others.

How do you talk about it with your parents and/or your friends?

Even if you don’t want to share it with anyone and you feel like no one understands you, it is important that you tell the people around you how you feel. They can help you improve, step by step. You don’t have to be alone.

Would you like to know more about depression?

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