Teen Depression

by Karen
(Roswell, GA USA)

My 15 yr old was diagnosed with depression and was prescribed Zoloft.

I heard that this drug has a black box for teens and young adults. The psychiatrist said that it does more good than harm. What are your thoughts?

Ben's Answer:

I believe that the first action to take for any teenager who is depressed, is weekly psychotherapy (meaning counseling). There is an abundance of evidence to show that antidepressants are often risky for kids and teens, and often not even effective. Recent research shows that even for adults, antidepressants are of little value for mild to moderate depression and are comparable to a placebo. And yes, there IS a black box warning by the FDA for Zoloft being used for teens - because it is known to increase the risk of suicide.

There are so many effective methods of therapy - both traditional - as well as newer methods such as EFT - that have virtually no risk, no side effects and no chance of dependency - that I would always suggest that as a first approach.

But I am not a doctor - and I am not giving you medical advice. Since you've already gotten your doctor's advice, and you're not sure if you trust it - please consider all of your options before making a decision.

Some antidepressants can be very difficult to get off of without withdrawal symptoms and relapse into depression, especially if used for a long period of time. The human brain is still developing until around age 21.

That said, sometimes for severe depression, action must be taken quickly, and this might include medication. You and your doctor will have to decide what is in your daughter's best interest - but you - as the parent - should be the final authority.

In my experience, EFT often works within minutes, while most antidepressants take 3 weeks or more to show any improvement in mood.

Thanks for your question.

Best Wishes,
Ben Schwarcz

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