Adolescence and Depression

Researchers and physicians recommend that children and adolescents stay under close watch when they are taking prescription medication. Since the developing brain makes neural connections at an accelerated rate, compared to the adult brain, the effects of medication can be extremely defining to continued brain development. Though a healthy majority of young people do not experience overwhelming symptoms of depression, some young people find prescription antidepressants extremely helpful in allowing them to be productive, focused, and regain their vitality.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to situational depression, like the after effects of divorcing parents, a sudden death, or complications from moving away from their original home. In addition to being vulnerable to situational changes, adolescents also deal with extreme pressures within competitive academic avenues, competitive friend groups, and shifting hormone levels. Many adolescents that are in need of therapeutic assistance for depression or anxiety are extremely hesitant to be vulnerable in asking for help.

Many young people affected by depression or anxiety might not even be aware that their condition is abnormal, accepting sadness as a normal state of being. Prescription antidepressants, like Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac, coupled with psychiatric therapy, have proven to be a very effective form of treatment for depression and anxiety. Urges to self-harm and thoughts of suicide are hosted most commonly in the thoughts of younger people, so doctors are warned to pay extra attention to their younger patients on antidepressants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administered black box warnings for all antidepressants. Black box warnings are the strongest possible issuing that the FDA can administer. Boxed warnings indicate that the prescription may carry a significant level of risk to patients. Specifically, warnings for antidepressants emphasize the possible risks for birth defects to developing fetuses as well as increased thoughts of suicide.

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