Specific treatment for major depression will be determined by your adolescent's physician based on:
Your adolescent's age, overall health and medical history
Extent of your adolescent's symptoms
Your adolescent's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Mood disorders, including major depression, can be effectively treated. Treatment should always be based on a comprehensive evaluation of the adolescent and family. Treatment may include one, or more, of the following:
Antidepressant medications (especially when combined with psychotherapy is very effective in the treatment of depression in children and teens)
Psychotherapy (most often cognitive-behavioral and/or interpersonal therapy) for the adolescent (focused on changing the adolescent's distorted views of themselves and the environment around them; working through difficult relationships; identifying stressors in the adolescent's environment and learning how to avoid them)
Consultation with the adolescent's school
Parents play a vital supportive role in any treatment process. For many reasons, many parents of adolescents with depression never seek the appropriate treatment for their adolescent, although, approximately 80 percent of all people with major depression who seek treatment improve, usually within weeks. Continued treatment may help to prevent reoccurrence of the depressive symptoms.
Without appropriate treatment, symptoms of depression can persist for weeks, months or years. In addition to causing interpersonal and psychosocial problems, depression in adolescents is also associated with an increased risk for suicide.
Suicide risk rises, particularly among adolescent boys, when the depression is accompanied by other mental health disorders (conduct disorder, substance abuse). It is crucial for parents and care providers of adolescents to take all depressive and suicidal symptoms very seriously and seek treatment immediately.
Suicide is a medical emergency. Consult your adolescent's physician for more information.