When your teen is diagnosed with clinical depression, a parent can feel helpless. You may not understand what depression is and you can blame yourself for your teen’s condition.
The good news is that depression is a treatable mental illness. As a parent, you can help your teen on their road to recovery. It is important for you to be aware of your teen’s behavior and watch them for any signs that the treatment is not working.
The first thing that a parent should do is educate themselves about depression. Not a lot is known about why depression happens. More research needs to be done in order to determine the exact causes and know which kind of treatment is best. Although drug manufacturers claim that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, this is not a fact. Scientists and doctors believe that this could be the cause of depression and that is why antidepressant medications are prescribed to help treat depression.
Everyone’s brain chemistry is different and that is why some medications work well for some and not for others. That is also the reason why dosages need to be adjusted. It can be a struggle for some patients to find the antidepressant that works for them. As a parent, you need to be patient and hopeful. You also need to keep an eye on your teenager for side effects of any medication that they are taking. Keeping a daily diary will help you to keep track of your teen’s progress and will be helpful to relay the information to the psychiatrist treating your teen.
Research any antidepressant that your teen is prescribed. The internet can be a valuable tool in learning about antidepressants and their side effects.
Although it may be difficult, having good communication with your teen’s mental health provider will be very valuable as he/she is treated for depression. If you are not happy with your teen’s doctor, look for another one. Sometimes you may just have to settle for the doctor that you have because of health insurance or other limitations. Continue to be an advocate for your teen’s treatment by making yourself as knowledgeable as you can be on the subject of depression and treatment options.
Therapy is very important for overcoming depression. Individual and family therapy can help speed the process of recovery.
Try to keep open communication with your teen about how they are feeling. Explain to them that depression is treatable and it can sometimes take time. They need to let you know if they have suicidal thoughts or if they feel that their symptoms are worsening.
Sometimes teenagers who are being treated for depression may attempt to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol. With or without taking antidepressants, this is a dangerous thing to do.
Watch for signs that your teen is withdrawing from social activities or is experimenting with drugs or alcohol. While they are in the first few months of antidepressant treatment, it is essential to be aware of what they are doing. Your job as a parent is to do your best to keep them safe and although you trust them, depression can make them act in ways that they normally would not.
Depression can be a long, hard road to travel but your teen can be well again. Knowledge of depression can help you as a parent feel more positive about the journey.