Antidepressant medicines often work well for children who are depressed. But there are some important things you should know about these medicines.
Children who take antidepressants should be
watched closely. These medicines may increase the risk that a child will think
about or try suicide, especially in the first few weeks of use. If your child
takes an antidepressant, learn the warning signs of suicide, and get help right
away if you see any of them. Common warning signs include:
Talking, drawing, or writing about death.
Giving away belongings.
Withdrawing from family and
Having a plan, such as a gun or pills.
Your child may start to feel better after 1 to 3 weeks of
taking antidepressant medicine. But it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to see
more improvement. Make sure your child takes antidepressants as prescribed and
keeps taking them so they have time to work.
A child may need to
try several different antidepressants to find one that works. If you notice any
warning signs or have concerns about the medicine, or if you do not notice any
improvement by 3 weeks, talk to your child's doctor.
Do not let a
child suddenly stop taking antidepressants. This could be dangerous. Your
doctor can help you taper off the dose slowly to prevent problems.