Medical Q&As

Teenage depression

Can you tell me if it's usual to prescribe antidepressants for a young person? I always thought that such drugs were quite potent.

Antidepressant drugs can be used safely in young people. I have had the experience of prescribing antidepressants for teenagers and once treated a boy as young as twelve years old. He did very well and is now off all medication although he continues to attend the child guidance clinic. Depression in young people has to be taken seriously and all of us have to be very concerned at the rise in suicide rates among our young people. With every treatment you have to balance the risk of side effects against the benefits of treatment. I take your point that antidepressants are potent drugs but sometimes the state of the young person’s mental health demands that they be prescribed.