Depression in teens is one of the most dangerous issues facing our youth today. But while depression in teens is treatable, many teenage depressed teens simply do not get treatment. Teen depression goes well beyond moodiness. It is a serious disorder that effects every area of a teenager’s life from diet to sleep to exercise.
Teens are at greater risk than most adults for depression. There are biological and psychological reasons why this is so. A depressed teen has low self-esteem and low self-image. Low self-esteem interferes with relationships and functioning in the social network. In addition, most teens may have had some traumatic life events like abuse or divorce, which lead to feelings of depression, guilt and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
Symptoms of depression in teenagers include significant problems with depressive mood swings (also known as manic depression) and increased irritability. Irritability is often marked by a sense of hopelessness or stress about problems. The symptoms of irritability can worsen when teens try to get their feelings under control.
One of the most common medications prescribed for depression in teens is paroxetine (Paxil), an SSRI. However, some doctors have stopped prescribing paroxetine because of its mood-altering properties. Other antidepressants that may be suitable for teenagers with depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, fluoxetine (Prozac) and tricyclics like Elavil, Norpramin, and Pamelor. It is very important that your child get adequate treatment if he or she has symptoms of depression.
There is no real cure for adolescent depression. If left untreated, it can worsen and could lead to substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and actions. There are also a number of treatments available to help children and young adults suffering from this disorder. Your child should get proper counseling and help from his or her primary care physician or psychologist in order to address the problem effectively.
If your teenager is suffering from depression, you should consider talking to him or her about the problem. Talking with your child will let him or her know that there are other people who are going through the same thing. The talk can then help him or her make the right decision regarding treatment options and how to deal with the symptoms of depression. In some cases, medication is required as an initial step before progress can be made with counseling. Your doctor or psychologist should be able to recommend appropriate depression treatment options for your child.
There are some antidepressants that work by changing the brain chemistry of individuals. Your child may be given one type of antidepressant or a combination of different types of antidepressants to treat depression in teens. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs are popular antidepressants used to treat depression in teens because they raise the levels of serotonin in the brain. Children and adolescents who receive SSRIs should not be stopped unless the doctor recommends it. Some children and adolescents also respond well to tricyclics, which are also prescribed to treat various types of diseases including those that cause depression.
If your teen is struggling with feelings of sadness, hopelessness, excessive guilt, or just doesn’t feel like living his or her life to the fullest, then the first step in treating depression in teens is to find out what’s causing the teenager’s depression. A teenager who feels depressed, unhappy, and worthless may be having thoughts of suicide or thoughts of harming himself or herself. There are also some teenagers who suffer from a form of bulimia when they overeat or abuse food to gain weight. Your teenager should be examined by a licensed health professional in order to determine the cause of his or her depression. When depression in teens is caused by underlying mental problems, treatment should include psychotherapy, medication, nutritional counseling and/or support groups that will help your teenager get healthier.