If you are the parent of an adolescent with a depression diagnosis, you may have questions and concerns about the treatments available to successfully manage their condition. The good news is that depression in children and adolescents can be safely and effectively treated using a range of clinically-proven treatments. You can learn more about the most effective treatments here.
Adolescent depression is a serious mental health problem that results in low mood and a loss of interest in activities. Symptoms of the condition can vary in severity, but they often include a range of emotional and behavioral changes that can cause significant distress and problems in different areas of life, such as at school, socially, and at home. Adolescents with depression may have persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, frustration, or anger, or their behavior may change, such as avoiding social activities, performing poorly at school, or paying less attention to personal hygiene.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between our normal ups and downs of adolescence and are symptoms of depression. It is important to open the lines of communication with your teen to try to establish whether they seem able to manage their feelings or whether they are finding it difficult to cope. If signs or symptoms of depression interfere in their life, it is important to seek professional help. Symptoms of depression often don’t get better on their own, and delaying treatment may lead to more significant problems.
Treating Adolescent Depression
There is a range of measures that can help to alleviate symptoms of adolescent depression and allow teens to succeed in school and in other areas of life. Treatment for adolescent depression is most successful when parents are involved.
Once your teen has been officially diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional, a personalized treatment plan will be put in place to help manage their condition successfully. The physician will help to provide education and resources for everyone involved in your teen’s treatment, such as parents, other family members, and teachers.
The type of depression and the severity of symptoms will determine the best course of treatment. The most effective treatments for adolescent depression are psychotherapy and medication.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves meeting with a trained therapist or mental health professional to talk about thoughts, feelings, relationships, and issues relating to depression, and to develop coping skills. Therapy may be provided on a one-to-one basis, with family members, in a group environment, or a combination of methods.
Psychotherapy uses a range of techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy to help teach patients (and their families) to better understand themselves and the nature of their depression and to develop coping strategies to deal with life stressors, low mood, and relapse triggers.
Therapy can help teens identify alternate ways of thinking or taking action to cope more effectively with depressive symptoms. It can also help individuals to obtain essential life skills such as problem-solving, engaging in more productive behaviors, and managing relationships successfully.
There are two main FDA-approved medications for the treatment of adolescent depression – fluoxetine and escitalopram. In general, most antidepressants are safe, but they can have negative side effects in some people, so it is important to discuss these with your provider and to weigh up the benefits and risks before commencing treatment. For many teens needing an antidepressant, the benefits of improved mood and the opportunity for a positive quality of life often outweigh the risks.
Anyone taking antidepressant medication should be monitored closely to identify negative side effects, especially in the first few weeks of treatment. These can include worsening symptoms of depression, unusual behaviors, or suicidal thoughts. Depending on the type and severity of the depression, medications may be used on a short-term or long-term basis, and initially, it may be a case of trial and error to find the right medication and dose to suit the individual.
In severe cases of depression, sometimes hospitalization is necessary, particularly if your teen is at risk of harming themselves or others. Psychiatric hospital treatment can help to keep your teen safe and calm until they are better able to cope, and until symptoms are better under control.
Adolescent Depression Treatment Near Me in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida
If your teen is showing signs of depression, contact the caring and compassionate providers at Children’s Medical Center. Our experienced pediatricians can provide early diagnosis and treatment to ensure your teen gets the effective care they need.
At Children’s Medical Center, we provide comprehensive healthcare to patients from birth to early adulthood. Our experienced, board-certified physicians can provide early diagnosis, education, and resources to help young patients, their families, and those involved in their care manage their health successfully.