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No, antidepressants are not bad for teenagers. Antidepressants are medications prescribed to help treat moderate to severe depression.

The two most common types of antidepressant medications are (SSRIs) (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs work by altering the brain’s chemical balance of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical in one’s body that is directly related to one’s moods. SNRIs work to elevate one’s mood by interacting with both the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in one’s brain. Antidepressant medications are used as treatments for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is important to note that antidepressants are not a quick fix to mental health disorders. All studies show that antidepressants work best in conjunction with regular, ongoing talk therapy. For teens who are not keen on engaging in traditional psychotherapy, it may be advantageous to attend support groups or work with a life coach or mentor for additional, meaningful support. 

Side Effects

As is true with taking any type of medication there are associated risks. Teenagers should be frequently monitored by the prescribing doctor especially at the beginning of any antidepressant trial. The specific risks will vary from person to person, as they will depend on several contributing factors (e.g., the teen’s health history, the presence of any additional mental health ailments, if the young person engages in substance abuse, genetics, etc.). Antidepressants are used to help rebalance the imbalanced chemicals in one’s brain that cause depression or other mental health disorders. There are several side effects that may present when taking antidepressants. Some examples of side effects could include, but are not limited to the following, provided by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

When taken properly and under the direct supervision of a mental health professional, many of the unpleasant side effects will subside in time. It is essential to be transparent with the prescribing professional regarding the presence of side effects. This will allow the mental health professional insight as to whether the prescribed treatment plan is working, or if an adjustment in one’s treatment plan is necessary. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires antidepressant medications to clearly display a black box warning indicating the possibility of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taken by some individuals under the age of 25. Teens, and everyone, need to take antidepressants’ risks seriously and in the event of feeling suicidal should ask for help, call 911, or go to their local emergency room immediately.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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