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Treating Teen Depression

If your healthcare provider diagnoses your teenager with depression, many different treatment options are available. Your teenager's treatment plan may include medications (antidepressants) and/or psychotherapy. You should develop this plan with your healthcare provider and other members of your family, including your teenager. Giving your teenager an active role in planning his treatment can be important to his or her improvement and recovery.
The best thing you can do for a teenager who may have depression is to help 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 teenager.
(Click Treatment for Teenage Depression for more information, including details on psychotherapy and depression medications. Click Antidepressants in Children for more information about using depression medications in teenagers.)

What Is the Prognosis?

Most teenagers who have depression experience a recurrence of the condition. Twenty to 40 percent of depressed teenagers relapse within two years, and 70 percent will do so by adulthood.
(Click Effects of Teen Depression for more information on this topic.)

Suicide and Teenagers

Suicide is as rare among teenagers who have no other mental disorders as it is among adults. In the general population, about 2,000 adolescents in the United States die by suicide each year. It is thought that about 90 percent of teenagers who commit suicide have some type of mental disorder, with depression being one of the most common.
Suicide continually ranks as the second or third leading cause of death in people ages 15 to 34. Children are less prone to suicide before puberty due to immature reasoning capabilities that make planning and carrying out suicide difficult.
The teenager who attempts suicide often believes that his or her disease is outside the realm of control, and is in the hands of God or some other force. Refusing treatment is not a way of attempting suicide, but comes from his or her belief that fate, luck, or God determines life and death.
(Click Teen Depression and Suicide for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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