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Suggest treatment for depression

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 637 Questions
My teenage son (17) has shown signs of depression. I have been using a counselor for him who suggests getting him on a low dose Lexapro 10 mg for a short period of time. Is this wise? I hate to start him on antidepressants so early in life. He seems, to me anyway, to only be mildly depressed. Of course he isn't really confiding in me lately. He has tried marijuana to lesson the symptoms, to my sadness, and has also been through our medicine cabinet looking for things that will help him sleep. I worry so much about this. Do I try the medication?
Posted Sun, 10 Aug 2014 in Depression
Answered by Dr. Sunil Gupta 51 minutes later
Brief Answer:
I feel medications should be started.

Detailed Answer:

I went through your query and can understand your concern regarding starting antidepressant medications for your son.

Depression is a condition where earlier the treatment is instituted, better is the outcome. The treatment can be in form of medications as well as psychotherapy. You have mentioned about seeing a counselor. I would have liked to know the type of therapy being used. Is it just counseling or any specific therapy like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is being used. If the depression is only mild, CBT can be an effective option. I won't recommend simple counseling as a mode of treatment for depression. The most important thing is to note if he is responding to the therapy. If he is, you can very well continue with the therapy. If not, there is no point delaying starting medications.

Lexapro (escitalopram) is a very safe and effective medication for depression and can be used in adolescent children as well without much problems. In any case, it is way better than using marijuana and sedatives which can only lead to complications. And I am assuming that he is using these as he feels that he is not getting any benefits from the counseling. So, I do feel that it is time you consider starting medications for him.

I would suggest that you take him to a psychiatrist and let him evaluate your son's condition. In any case, if medications have to be started, it should be better under care of a medical doctor, preferable a psychiatrist rather than a counselor.

I do hope that I was able to answer your query. Please feel free to ask any further queries that you might have.

Best wishes,

Dr. Sunil Gupta
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