4 Facts about Antidepressant Drugs for Teens

If you’re afraid that your teen might have clinical depression it’s important to have a complete evaluation by a licensed professional. A trained professional will be able to determine a proper diagnosis, followed by the right course of treatment. Sometimes the physician or psychiatrist might suggest that your teen would benefit from taking an antidepressant. This can be a scary suggestion for parents. If you’re wondering if antidepressants are right for your teen, here’s some information to consider.

How They Work


Antidepressants affect the way the brain processes neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that affect moods and emotions. Different drugs have different chemical compositions. Some inhibit the breakdown of the chemical messengers, while others stop the reuptake of neurotransmitters by brain cells.


They Can Take Time


If you go the medication route with your teen, it’s important to be patient with the process. Sometimes it can take time to find the right antidepressant and the right dosage for the best outcome. Although some teens feel like they see positive changes immediately after starting, usually the medication needs about eight weeks of consistent usage for a real difference to be seen.


They’re Safe for Teens


The FDA has approved certain antidepressants as safe for use with children and teens. However, they have put a black label warning on all antidepressants because some have been shown to increase suicidal tendencies in a small number of adolescents.

  • Clomipramine (Anafranil) is approved for ten years and older to treat an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD.

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is approved for children seven years and older to treat generalized anxiety disorder.

  • Escitalopram (Lexapro) is approved for children 12 and older for major depressive disorder.

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) is approved for children 8 and older for major depressive disorder and OCD.

  • Fluvoxamine is approved for children 8 and older for OCD.

  • Olanzapine and fluoxetine (combination drug Symbyax) are approved for children 10 and older for bipolar depression.

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) is approved for children 6 and older for OCD and anxiety.


There are Other Options


Medication isn’t the right course of treatment for every teen with depression. There are additional options to consider like adventure therapy, one-on-one psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral modification training and holistic activities.


If you have questions or are concerned about your teen, we are here to help and would love to hear from you, 907-789-7610 (The Link).