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Advice Needed: How to help a teenage boy through his depression

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How to help a teenage boy through his depression?
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 6:47 PM
Replies (11-11):
DarlaHood
by on Oct. 6, 2012 at 3:04 AM

I would definitely be careful.  When you do go to the doctor, make sure they aren't in a rush to just put him on meds.  But honestly, I do think they are pretty quick to dispense antidepressants without a formal diagnosis or any regular or thorough follow up.  Have them do some bloodwork and make sure everything is in line.  And request therapy.  The most recent research shows that therapy alone is pretty much just as effective as meds alone in treating depression.  However, the combination of meds and therapy can be more effective.  With teens you need to be well aware of the options for meds, the potential side-effects, and the potential for developing suicidal thoughts or tendencies.  So you have to monitor them carefully.  You also need to familiarize yourself with the warning signs so you would recognize them if there started to be a problem.   And you want to ask when the doctor will be talking with the therapist, when they will re-evaluate, and what their plan is for long term.

I also agree with doing everything you can to improve his health by regular exercise (preferably outside), proper diet and sleep, and also depending upon where you live, UV light therapy may be appropriate because some people respond to winter weather with depressive episodes related to lack of sunlight, a natural mood booster.

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