Antidepressants for teens: when should you medicate your kid?

At what point should you consider antidepressants for your teenager? Well, let's talk
about that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family
therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens and families to live happier lives. I lead
two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and
Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump
onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. My daughter
is 15, and she's been struggling with depression on and off for about a year now. She's in therapy,
but I don't really think she's making any progress. I'm wondering if we should consider antidepressants
and what you think some of the pros and cons are. I've heard they can lead to suicidal thoughts,
and I'm concerned about that. As a side effect, how do I know if I should consider medication
for her? Thank you for your question. First, let me remind

all of you that I am not a medical doctor. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. So the
only medical advice I can really give you is you should talk to a doctor about that. However,
who should you talk to? I encourage you to consult if you are really thinking about medication
for your daughter, whether it's antidepressants or possibly another medication, depending
on because it's a very nuanced field, you would want to talk to a pediatric psychiatrist or a
pediatric psychiatric nurse practitioner who can provide prescription for medication.
And the reason why you want to talk to some of these experts is because, again, this is a very nuanced
field, and you want someone who's an expert in prescribing medication for your child's brain.
Now, whether your child should have prescribed medication, I don't know, but it's worth talking
to an expert. Now, it can be difficult to find a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner
who's available. There's long waiting lists. Sometimes

it's hard to find someone on your insurance or out of your insurance, which is more expensive,
but you probably get more care more often. But these questions you're asking about side effects
suicidality, these are great questions to ask your prescribing professional, because they
can address these questions from a place of knowledge and experience, and this is where their
training and expertise lies. So if they can satisfy those questions for you, and they can satisfy
how they're going to monitor those side effects, if those side effects come up, how do you guys
address them? And if they are approaching this in a way that you feel is appropriate for your
daughter's care, then maybe you should consider it my experience, anecdotal experience.
Again, I'm not a medical professional. I'm a licensed therapist, which is different. I do therapy.
I don't do medication. But I do recommend psychiatrists occasionally to clients and parents.
What I see is some clients respond very well, whether it's

00:03:04 Speaker 1
antidepressant, antianxiety, medication, ADHD medication, whatever the medication is.
I've seen many clients really respond well. I've seen other clients who didn't respond well
at all. It had no effect. It made things worse, whatever. I think it's important to know that
those are both possibilities. And how do you and your psychiatrist deal with those possibilities?
Are they able to support you and your daughter if things aren't working out? I've seen many clients
have to go through many different rounds of prescriptions to find what was the right combination
of medication that worked for them. I don't know if any of these experiences will resonate with
your experience. I'm just saying these are things I've seen. Your mileage may vary, so that's
why it's really important to talk to a psychiatrist or another prescribing specialist. If
you think your pediatrician is an expert on psychotropic medication, then maybe your pediatrician
can do it too. It just depends on where their training and

experience is. But you should also talk to your child's therapist. Do they think medication
is warranted? They think that a recommendation to a psychiatrist would benefit. Talking to
your therapist as well. Having your child's therapist and the prescribing professional collaborate
and talk about how they're treating your daughter and making sure they're on the same page is
a really good idea as well. It's a complicated question. There is no easy answer. And I don't
even know if antidepressants are the right choice or another medication route is the right
choice. Ultimately, again, that's up to you and the doctor. So talk to the doctor, talk to your
therapist. Make sure that they are addressing possible side effects and how they address those
side effects to your satisfaction. And if they are, you can always try it. It's not probably
not going to lead to addiction, much like the Opioid Cris is. Those are very different medications.
Opioid Cris is well documented in the media, in the news

of how pain medications lead to addiction. I don't really see that happening with psychotropic
medications. But again, you should address that with your psychiatrist, see how they would
address that question. Anyways, that's our question for today. Again. My name is Kent Toussaint
with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling. If you'd like me to answer your question
here on Tips on Teens, email us at tips on You can also join our
Facebook group, Tips on Teens, anytime you like. We'd love to have you there. Thanks again.
I'll see you next Wednesday, and have a good week. Bye bye, guys.


If you are considering antidepressants for your child, it is important to make an informed decision, and that requires consulting the right professional. The person you need to consult is either a pediatric psychiatrist or a pediatric nurse practitioner. These professionals are trained to understand the many nuances involved in prescribing medication for your kid’s brain. They will assess your child’s mental health and help determine if antidepressants are an appropriate treatment option.


Antidepressants can be an effective treatment for children with depression, but it is important to weigh the benefits and risks. Regarding side effects, it’s important to have a plan in place beforehand. The decision to prescribe antidepressants for children is not an easy one, and it requires careful consideration of the potential side effects, interactions with other medications, and the possible long-term effects. That is why it is crucial to seek the advice of an expert who can help you make an informed decision based on your child’s specific needs.

There’s more to know, and we get into it in this Tips on Teens:

“My daughter is 15 and she’s been struggling with depression on and off for about a year now.  She’s in therapy, but I don’t really think she’s making any progress. I’m wondering if we should consider antidepressants and what you think some of the pros and cons are. I’ve heard they can lead to suicidal thoughts and I’m concerned about that as a side effect. How do I know if I should consider medication for her?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.