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A Therapist's Perspective on Meds
Carolyn Glaser
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Anti-depressants aren't happy pills and they won't make a person happy, they'll just make you able to function, get out of bed and handle the day. I've seen teens go on anti-depressants and it helps them relax, sleep, not be as anxious.

I don't like it for a young person to be told that they have to be on anti-depressants. But I also think that there's a lot of resistance because there's a lot of misconceptions about anti-depressants.

A lot of people think anti-depressants will make you an addict or they'll make you all spacey. A lot of people think taking medication is a sign of weakness. They think you should be able to handle your own problems. But often depression is something that you can't help. It's like taking asthma medication if you have asthma. You need that medication to maintain yourself. If you've always had depression, I can't imagine why you wouldn't try it.

Anti-depressant medication is not an exact science, though, and sometimes you have to try a few different medications before you get the right one.

Often kids experience a numb feeling or other side effects, like nausea or sleeplessness, so anti-depressants have to be closely monitored and there has to be good communication between the doctors and the patient. You have to ask a kid if the medication is helpful. The kid can say if it's not. Then the drug has to be changed or the dosage reduced.

Are you a caring adult looking for more stories to help your youth? Go to HeretoListen.org, a resource for the front-line staff in schools and community based programs to help teens who are struggling with difficult emotions.

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