Do not rely on one medicine alone
There are several options for treating depression in adolescents, including individual therapy or group sessions. There is also a method of family therapy. Medications are the last resort, and this is only part of a comprehensive treatment, not a panacea.
Any type of psychological therapy is often good for treating mild to moderate depression. Antidepressants should be used as part of a more extensive treatment plan, in more severe cases.
Unfortunately, some parents believe that antidepressants are the only way to cure a child. This is far from true, any treatment is individual and can vary depending on the results.
Risks of adolescent use of antidepressants In severe cases of depression, medications can help alleviate its symptoms. However, antidepressants are not always the best treatment option. They can give side effects in the form of addiction, sleep disorders, increased fatigue and drowsiness. It is important to weigh all the risks before the appointment of antidepressants.
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Antidepressants and adolescent brain
Antidepressants were developed and tested for adults, so their impact on the young, developing brain is not fully understood. Some researchers are concerned that the use of drugs such as Prozac, children and adolescents, can interfere with the normal development of their brain. The brain of adolescents is rapidly developing and the impact of antidepressants can affect development, especially how a teenager manages stress and regulates his emotions.
Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in some adolescents. The risk of suicide, according to studies of specialists, is highest during the first two months of treatment with antidepressants.
Adolescents who take antidepressants should be under close supervision of doctors and parents. Any signs that the symptoms of teenage depression are worsening should be a signal to revise the treatment.
Warning symptoms include increased excitement, irritability, or uncontrolled adolescent anger, as well as sudden behavioral changes.
According to the data of psychotherapists who are engaged in teenage depression, after the beginning of taking antidepressants or changing their dose, the teenager should consult a doctor:
- Once a week for four weeks
- Every 2 weeks for the next month
- At the end of the 12th week of taking medications
Supporting adolescents as a treatment for depression
The most important thing you can do for your child is to let him know that you will always support him. Now, more than ever, your teenager needs to know that you appreciate him, love and care for him.
Be patient. Living with a depressed teenager in one house is not an easy thing to do. From time to time you can experience fatigue, despair, a desire to quit everything or any other negative emotions. In this difficult time it is important to remember that your child will be cured, you are already working on it. Your teenager also suffers, so it's better to have patience and understanding.
Encourage physical activity. Encourage your teenager when he does sports or yoga. Exercises can alleviate the symptoms of depression, so find ways to make a teen physically active. You can apply something very simple, for example, walking with a dog or riding a bicycle - it can be useful.
Encourage social activity. Isolation only exacerbates the depression of a teenager, so encourage him when he wants to spend time with friends or you.
Participate in the treatment. Make sure your teen observes all instructions and the doctor and does everything in time and in full. This is especially important when your child takes prescription drugs. Monitor the changes in your child's condition and see a doctor if the symptoms of depression, in your opinion, are aggravated.
Learn more about depression. If you are little aware of the flow of this condition, you need to read more about depression, and then you too will become an expert. The more you know, the better you can help your depressed teenager. Encourage the teenager to learn more about depression, too. Reading popular science literature can help adolescents feel that they are not alone and give them an opportunity to better understand what they are experiencing.
The way to restore the state of mind of a teenager can be long, so be patient. Rejoice in small victories and do not worry about failures. Most importantly, do not judge yourself and do not compare your family with others. You do everything possible to save the teenager from depression, and he tries with you.