Are depressed teens treatable?

The good news is that depression is indeed treatable in adolescents. According to NIMH the lifetime prevalence of depression in teens ages 13-8 years old is about 11%. 

The difficult task is in discerning true depression from feeling the adolescent blahs. 

Depression in teens also looks differently than it does in adults. The most common symptoms in teens include irritability, agitation, and anger. In addition depressed teens often feel hopeless, and helpless. They no longer enjoy activities that once brought them pleasure and they are often isolative and sullen.

Treatment should start by seeking out a mental health professional such as a psychologist or clinical social worker. Parents should look for someone who comes highly recommended and is easily able to connect with their teen. Although the teen client should attend a few sessions before deciding that he/she is not comfortable with a particular therapist, parents should listen to their teen. After all, while a parent may prefer a specific professional, in the end it is the teen's take that will make the difference between the teen just shooting the breeze with the therapist to please their parents or actually working toward relief, and therapy is indeed work.

If a teen does not respond to therapy alone, the counselor may suggest an evaluation for medication by a psychiatrist, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant. If warranted, an anti-depressant may be prescribed.

Although there has been some negative press about antidepressants, when medications are indicated a licensed professional can successfully monitor the medication protocol and help the client remedy any side effects.

Research indicates that the combination of therapy and medication management is the most successful treatment for depression.

For more on this and other teen topics: go to: and

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.