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Teen Depression – Treatments and Drugs!

Teen Depression Treatments and Drugs

There are a number of treatments available for teen depression. Apart from medications psychological counseling is also very effective for most teen patients suffering from depression. In many cases a good primary care doctor will be in a position to prescribe medications that could help relieve symptoms associated with depression.

However, there could be situations where the patient may be required to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist to help diagnose the mental health challenges that such a patient may be facing. T

here are also a number of mental health counselors who could also help out in finding out the best treatments. Further we should also be aware of the fact that in many cases the patients could hurt themselves or even cause injury to others, in which case they may require hospitalization. Let us over the next few lines look at the various treatment options for depression.

  • There are a number of medications available which work well as antidepressants. They belong to various types and categories. They care categorized by the way in which they affect the chemicals that occur naturally in the brain when mood changes occur.
  • However since the studies on the effects of antidepressants on teens are limited, doctors usually go by the research that is available on adults. The Food and Drug Administration or FDS has two approved drugs for treatment of teen depression. They are Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Escitalopram (Lexapro). While these are the two main drugs prescribed for teen depression for adults, there could be many other off-label prescription drugs too which are prescribed. However, at the end of the day the doctor is the main person who decides on such drugs.

Teenage Depression Antidepressants

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  • There are different types of antidepressants about which too we should have a reasonably good idea. A common type of drug that is used regularly belongs to the SSRI category or Selective Serotonin Re Uptake Inhibitors. These groups of drugs are very commonly prescribed for teen depression. This is because they are considered safer on teenagers and are relatively free from nagging and disturbing side effects.
  • There are a number of SSRI brand of drugs available in the market. A few examples are Fluoextine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil). Citalopram (Celexa) and Escitalopram (Lexapro). While these drugs are effective, they are known to cause side effects till such time the body adjusts to the drugs. However, till such time the side effects could range from jitteriness, headache, insomnia and headache. The best thing about these drugs is that the risk of death is very low even if there is a big overdose.
  • Apart from the above there are also a number of SNRIs which are nothing but Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re Uptake Inhibitors.  A few examples of these drugs include Duloxetine (Cymbalta), Effexor (generic name Venlafaxine) and Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine). The side effects associated with these drugs are almost the same as SSRIs. High doses of these drugs can cause dizziness and sweating. Patients who suffer from liver disorders and diseases should stay away from Duloxetine. It would also be pertinent to point out that NDRI group of drugs or Noreinephrine and Dopamine Re uptake inhibitors also fall under the category of SNRIs. A common drug that falls under this category is Bupropion which if taken in high doses could lead to seizures.
  • The next groups of drugs that fall under this category are referred to as Atypical Antidepressants. They are referred to by this name because they do not belong to any other antidepressant category. A few compositions that fall in this category are mirtazapine (Remeron) and trazodone. Both the above class of drugs has a sedating effect and there are usually taken in the evening. It is also not very uncommon to see another antidepressant being added to these drugs to induce better sleep.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: these drugs have been used for many years and are a new range of medicines. Amitriptyline, Imipramine and Doxepin belong to this class or drugs. However, because of side effect fears they are not usually prescribed to teenagers. The side effects could range from low blood pressure to dry mouth, blurred vision and so on. They can also cause weight gain. Overdosing of these drugs could come with dangerous side effects.
  • Apart from the above there re also other group of medications such as MAOIs or Monaimine Oxidase Inhibitors. These groups of drugs are prescribed only as a last resort.  If the doctor finds that one drug is not working on the patients, it is quite common for doctors to add another antidepressant or medication for better results. This is known as augmentation.
  • It is also very important to manage medications and the drugs have to be taken regularly and in the right dose. Many doctors starts with low dose for better tolerance and as parents it is our duty to give only those dosages on a daily basis as is required. This is to avoid over dosage which could lead to complications. You have to be very careful with patients who have suicidal tendencies.

The Right Medication

Finding the right medication is important because each patient is different from the other. While some trial and error may be unavoidable, patience is something that has to be on top of the mind as far as patients or teen depressions are concerned.

These medicines could take time to show effect and even if there are side effects it would be wrong to discontinue the drugs without consulting the doctors.  If a particular group of drug is not working it is common for the doctors to conduct a blood test to find out specific genes which react to such antidepressants.

Amongst the various types of test the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) is one such test.

 Antidepressants and Pregnancy

If your teenage child is pregnant or on breast feeding, you should be careful about the kind of antidepressants that are used because some drugs could be risky to the unborn or nursing child. Checking with the doctor before taking any antidepressant drug is very important.

Though antidepressants that are recommended by FDA are generally safe, there could be instances where young teenagers and others between the age 18 to 24 could have suicidal thoughts. This risk is very pronounced particularly during the first few weeks of treatment. However the benefits associated with the drugs far outweigh the risks if taken in the right dosage.

Teenage Depression Psychotherapy

  • Psychotherapy is another useful method for treating depressions. It is a method of treatment of depression by talking about it with a mental health provider. Talk therapy, psychological therapy and counseling are some more names given to it. These sessions help in understanding the causes of depression and taking necessary steps.
  • Cognitive therapy is a method by which the negative thoughts and beliefs are identified and are replaced with positive and healthy ones. They are also known as psychodynamic psychotherapy or interpersonal therapy.


In spite of all these treatments, there could be situations where the patient may be required to go in for hospitalization and other residential treatment programs. This is recommended when the patient runs the risk of harming himself or others surrounding him or her. Such residential treatments help the patients to remain safe and come out with a mood that is much improved.

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