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Major Depression in Teens
Major depression is one of the mental, emotional, and behavior disorders that can appear during childhood and adolescence. This type of depression affects a young person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and body. Major depression in children and adolescents is serious; it is more than "the blues". Depression can lead to school failure, alcohol or other drug use, and even suicide.
What are the Signs of Depression?
Young people with depression may have a hard time coping with everyday activities and responsibilities, have difficulty getting along with others, and suffer from low self-esteem. Signs of depression include:
Some young children with this disorder may pretend to be sick, be overactive, cling to their parents and refuse to go to school, or worry that their parents may die. Older children and adolescents with depression may sulk, refuse to participate in family and social activities, get into trouble at school, use alcohol and other drugs, or stop paying attention to their appearance. They may also become negative, restless, grouchy, aggressive, or feel that no one understands them. Adolescents with major depression are likely to identify themselves as depressed before their parents suspect a problem. The same may be true for children.
What Help is Available for a Young Person with Depression?
While several types of antidepressant medications can be effective to treat adults with depression, additional research is needed to determine whether antidepressants are useful in helping young people. Some success has been reported with a drug called fluoxetine. Fluoxetine seems to have fewer side effects than other antidepressant medications.
Many mental health providers use "talk" treatments to help children and adolescents with depression. The National Institute of Mental Health has made it a priority to evaluate the effectiveness of the following types of therapy: Individual, family, and group psychotherapy.
What Can Parents Do?
If parents or other important adults in the child or teenager's life suspect a problem with depression they should:
Reference: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Mental Health Information Center
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The information contained on this site is not medical advice and should not be construed as behavioral health treatment. If you need behavioral health treatment, please feel free to contact our offices for information.
Partial funding for services is provided by the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction and the Indiana Division of Disability, Aging and Rehabilitation Services.
Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. is a not-for-profit provider of behavioral health services.
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