Depression Home > Treatment for Teenage Depression

What Does the Research Say?

A large study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) compared the short- and longer-term effectiveness of medication and psychotherapy for depression in teenagers ages 12 to 17. This study showed that fluoxetine and cognitive-behavioral therapy combined produced the best success rate in treating depression in adolescents. Seventy-one percent of the participants who received both medication and talk therapy improved after 12 weeks of treatment.
Medication alone was also an effective treatment -- 61 percent of participants improved after receiving only medication. Forty-four percent of participants improved following treatment with cognitive-behavioral therapy alone, while 35 percent of people improved after receiving clinical management with a placebo.

Final Thoughts

The best thing that you can do for a teenager who may have depression is to help him or her get treated as soon as possible. Never wait to get help in the hope that the mood will pass. Depression is a serious illness, but it is treatable. The most effective form of treatment for teen depression may include both talk therapy and medication. A mental health professional can review treatment options with you to ensure the best care for your child.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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