Children can experience depression just as adults, and as such they too can succumb to clinical depression which cannot be treated the same as other depressions that have been brought on by a sad, painful, or traumatic event. Child depression medication is sometimes the only choice for children with clinical depression or MMD (Major Depression Disorder).
Child depression medication comes with the warning that increased ideation of suicide may occur when taking these drugs; studies have also revealed that leaving childhood depression untreated could also lead to the ideation of suicide.
The Most Commonly Prescribed Child Depression Medications
Some of the most commonly prescribed child depression medications are Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro. Each of these medications are FDA approved in treating depression in adults, but only Prozac is FDA approved in the treatment of child depression.
The other medications are prescribed by the doctor on an “off the label” basis. The FDA may not have approved the other medications for the treatment of depression, but numerous studies have shown they are effective in some children when Prozac is not producing the desired effect or is causing a worsening of the depression symptoms in the child.
Prozac to Treat Childhood Depression or MMD
Prozac is one of the most prescribed child depression medications because studies have shown it to not only be more effective in reducing childhood depression but because studies have shown it to be a safer child depression medication over others. Prozac is FDA approved for the treatment of depression in youth eight and up.
The Effectiveness of Zoloft to Treat Depression in Children
Zoloft is just one of the other SSRIs prescribed to children when Prozac is either not producing a desired effect or the child is suffering from worsening of their depressive symptoms. Zoloft is FDA approved in the treatment of OCD in children, but not for childhood depression. The doctor prescribes Zoloft in an effort to successfully treat such depressive symptoms as feelings of worthlessness, continuous sad mood, loss of interest in things the child once enjoyed and other common symptoms of depression.
Celexa or Lexapro as Child Depression Medication Choices
Celexa or Lexapro are other alternatives to Prozac and they too are prescribed on an “off-the-label” basis. Often Celexa or Lexapro are prescribed as the child depression medication choice because the child has ideations of suicide or even suicide attempts. These SSRI medications are also helpful in children who have depression symptoms such as weight changes due to increased eating or binge eating due to depressed feeling, and also for child patients who are suffering from insomnia or hypersomnia.
Any one of these medications can be considered suitable for child depression treatment. Each child depression medication comes with risks as well as benefits. It is important that any antidepressant drug therapy be closely monitored by the doctor or caregiver, especially in the first month of treatment. Notifying your doctor immediately if the medication seems to be worsening the child's depression symptoms is paramount.
Child Depression Medication May Be the Key to Ending the Sadness of Your Child
Antidepressants for Children and Adolescents
Mental Health Medications for Children
The Use of Prozac to Treat Depression in Children
The Use of Zoloft to Treat Depression in Children
The Use of Celexa or Lexapro to Treat Depression in Children
Photographer: Anita Patterson