Medications for Treating Teenage Depression

For teenagers, all antidepressants are not created equal. While some medications may work perfectly for adults, the teen’s brain is still developing, which makes many medications that treat adult depression ineffective. It is very important to make sure that your teen is using the correct type of anti-depressants, as using the incorrect type of medication can do a lot of harm.

SSRIs as Medication for Depressed Teens

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most widely prescribed drugs to treat depression amongst teens. Teens that are taking SSRIs should be closely monitored, even if the drug seems to be working, because side effects are much more prominent in young patients. The side effects that these antidepressants can be range from weight gain, dry mouth or constipation, all the way to severe anxiety, nausea, blurred vision and suicidal thoughts.

TCAs as Medication for Depressed Teens

The two other major categories of anti-depressants are TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). TCAs are as effective as SSRIs and other new medications, but the side effects, especially within teenagers, are much more prevalent. These medications also are extremely dangerous when one takes more than the recommended dosages. MAOIs are usually prescribed as a last resort due to their serious side effects. Patients who utilize MAOIs must stick to an extremely strict diet because many common foods such as pickles, cheese and chocolate can cause life threatening high blood pressure.

There are also several other options to look at in combination with the medication such as psychotherapy and self-help. Since treating depression is a trial and error process, you may need to try different medications and combinations of other treatment methods to get the desired results.

Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” pill that takes care of everything with no side effects. Many of the side effects that come with any type of anti-depressant are extremely serious. Although less common in SSRIs, the side effects are present with all types of depression medication. Generally when taken as directed, these medications can provide a great improvement in the quality of life of the depressed individual and the benefits outweigh the side effects. It is vital that you research any suggested prescription before your teen begins treatment to try and curb any issues that may arise before they occur.