Ask an Expert: Depression in Youth
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- When does depression typically appear in young people? Why? [0:48]
- Are college-aged students overmedicated? Undermedicated? [0:46]
- Does the stigma of depression still exist for college-aged students? [0:55]
- What are the risks and benefits of giving antidepressants to children? [1:02]
Learn more about depression in youth:
Depression in Children: English version (PDF, 636k) Spanish version (PDF, 772k)
Depression in Teens and College-Age Students: English version (PDF, 636k) Spanish version (PDF, 772k)
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: www.aacap.org
What are the risks and benefits of giving antidepressants to children?
DR. HUSSEINI K. MANJI: I think one always wants to be very cautious about using medications in children because in many cases, we really don't know what the consequences are on the developing brain are or the developing body, et cetera. So I would say, you know, when medications aren't necessary, that's certainly something. If one can use environmental interventions or other factors to, you know, treat the depression, et cetera, one should do that.
But by the same token, I think we can go overboard there. And if it was a child with leukemia, you know, we wouldn't be having this conversation. And we know that the anti-cancer drugs have horrendous side effects. And, you know, we know that there are things about the drug that may not be completely known. And yet because we're dealing with something where the outcomes if you don't treat is so devastating, we often sort of have to accept that there's a price for the treatment. The consequences of not treating are far worse.