“Are antidepressants dangerous for my son?”

Hi, welcome to Tips on Teens. I'm Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist,
coming to you live on Facebook every Wednesday at noon, your lunch break to answer your parenting
questions. I am the founder and clinical director of Teen Therapy Center, and also the executive
director of Child and Teen Counseling right here in Woodland Hills, California. Let's jump
to today's question. My son's pediatrician has been pushing the idea of antidepressants lately.
I'm skeptical because I've heard a horror stories from other parents. Isn't there a pretty
big risk of suicide while using antidepressants? Is there a specific one that is safer than
others? I don't want to put my son in any danger So first I have to acknowledge that I am NOT a medical
doctor. I cannot give you any direct medical advice But I do work with kids all the time who are
you know, some take medication or parents who take medication So when talking generalities,
first off, if your pediatrician is encouraging you towards

antidepressants, my hunch is your child or your teen is dealing with some significant depression.
You know, can't get out of bed, won't go to school, I mean, you know, possibly suicidal ideation
already. That's the kind of level that you'd want to, maybe want to consider medication for.
And, granted, I don't believe that medication is the answer for everything. You know, I don't
think it's the worst thing you can do for your child, but I don't think it's the first thing you
do either. You know, if you can, if your child is going to school, you know, again, you know, exercise,
healthy eating, healthy sleep, these are all really good antidepressants. But if your kid
cannot do these things because your kid can't get out of bed, that's a problem. Also, if you do
decide to use medications, make sure you've got a really good relationship with your doctor.
If you think your pediatrician is qualified to prescribe psychotropic medications, medications
for things like anxiety and depression and whatnot,

and you trust that doctor, then maybe your doctor's giving you some sound advice. Some people
want to go to experts, you know, child and teen psychiatrists. These are people who focus just
on medication, psychotropic medication for kids and teens. You may want to consider that.
Again, it may be a lot more expensive. But there's also a lot of concern right now with the medication,
how it's gonna impact your kid, because it will. There will be probably some negative side effects,
depending on your child, depending on your child's biological and chemical makeup. Different
people get side effects, and that's something to consider. It's really important that you
talk to your doctor about your kid's drug use or that your child has time alone with a doctor to
be more open about how much he's smoking weed or drinking or whatnot because that may impact
his you know the medicine he's prescribed. Also we have to consider that many times the first
course of treatment that kids are in adolescence are

prescribed is not going to work. You know doctors don't know exactly which medication. There's
a lot of medications out there. They got to try to go with their gut and figure out which is the
best medication for your kid and what's the right dosage. So it may take two to four weeks to figure
out if that's the right medication, which means if it's not, the doctor has to adjust the dosage
or adjust the medication altogether, which means another two to four weeks and titrating down
from the old one, getting on the new one, new side effects. It can be really frustrating and feel
like it's taking forever and it can sometimes. So with that in mind, as a therapist, and this
may be biased, but I see how it works, if someone is on psychotropic medication, they should
be in therapy because the medication is there to help balance things out so that person can do
the work to get on top of it. If your kid's dealing with depression, you know, and that medication
helps level him out enough where he can

actually start doing the work. He can start processing his feelings, identifying how he feels,
explore them, express them in a healthy way, get out of bed, you know, find the motivation to
exercise, to be creative, to get out and meet with friends. You know, those are things that will
help him get on top of that depression, hopefully. And eventually, possibly, your kid may be
able to wean off that medication if he's building the coping skills around that. If he's not,
he's going to be stuck on that medication. Some people may need medication for long periods
of time. Again, it depends on what your doctor prescribes to you, what your doctor feels is best,
and what your child's physical makeup is. None of this is easy. and I understand the concerns,
you know, does antidepressants, does it lead to suicide? I think that may be a very nuanced question
that needs a lot more research because there's a lot of variables. You know, how much drug use
does that kid have? How much support does that
kid feel he has? There's a lot of ways that can go. Putting it just on medication may be too narrow
of a focus. Again, talk to your doctor. If you're not satisfied with how your doctor is giving
you time to answer your questions, then get a second opinion. Again, this is not an easy thing
to do, but I encourage you to research it and find out. We want to make sure your kid is healthy
and strong before he does try something like suicide. I'm not saying this child will, because
I don't know enough about this case. But if your pediatrician is really pushing antidepressants,
if your pediatrician is honorable and is good at what they do, there may be something going on
behind that. So talk to a doctor, talk to a psychiatrist, get into therapy and get some of this
worked out. Anyways, that's our question for today. Thank you for your question. It's a really
tough one and I appreciate the tough ones. Keep them coming. If you have a question you'd like
me to answer, email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter

.com and I'll answer it next Wednesday at 12 o 'clock right here on Facebook. Talk to you then.
Bye bye.

There is a lot of debate regarding medication, especially when it comes to children and teens. This week’s #TipsOnTeens question comes from a parent worried about anti-depressents. What do you think? Here’s the question:

“My son’s pediatrician has been pushing the idea of anti-depressents lately. I’m skeptical because I’ve heard horror stories from other parents. Isn’t there a pretty big risk of suicide while using anti-depressents? Is there a specific one that is safer than others? I don’t want to put my son in any danger.”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

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