Skip to content
Teenage depression - what is the right medication?
An_200165 posted:
My 17 yr old son is diagnosed with having a mild to severe depression. It does run in my husband's family. My husband himself has had two depression so far. The doctor is prescribing my son the medication Abilify which she says is a mood stabiliser. She does not want to prescribe him an antidepressant as it may cause him to get worse and become suicidal. My son's depression is making him not motivated about things, not doing too well at school and waking up at night. I would like to get advice regarding Abilify vs an antidepressant such as Lexapro. I read online about Abilify and it treats bipolar depression, schizophrenia, and is an antipsychotic medication. Any advice on the medication, and on teenage depression would be much appreciated.
momuv4girls responded:
Hi Mom,

Medication trials are tricky because what works well for one child, could be a disaster for the next..........its basically trials and error. What is paramount, is having a qualified, smart Psychiatrist working closely with you and your son.

Antidepressants can make a child's depression worse, especially is there is a mood component to his illness - - like bipolar.

My daughter was on Abilify for a few months, but she was one who didn't respond well to it. It can have a side-effect of internal restlessness - and that is what happened to her. She was unsettled, restless, a lot more frustrated and generally in a bad, crabby mood non-stop.

Lamictal is known for treating the depression side of bipolar, and general depression. The good part about it, is there are little side-effects once you titrate up to a therapeutic dose. The down-side is, it can take a good month to see results because the titration must be done very slooooow.

Here is a helpful link about teenage depression:

I would suggest daily charting of your son's mood/behaviors.
Nothing too in-depth, just a quick blurb about his day.
That way, when you go back to his Dr. to check in, you can give him a run down of what happened when.

Take care!!
Larkspur22102 replied to momuv4girls's response:
Kathleen, thank you so much for you reply! Very helpful. I do realise medications is always by trial and error. I think what made me worried is that when I read about Abilify online, it said it is an antipsychotic medication to treat schizophrenia,bipolar etc. And the doctor actually said that at this stage (1st visit), she cannot say whether he is bipolar probably not but she cannot also rule it out. He definitely is depressed and I guess the doctor knows what she is doing and thinks Abilify is best for now. It will be reviewed at our next visit in 2 1/2 weeks. She seems to be a pretty good doctor, took her time and explained things to us. I have had such a hard time finding any doctor that takes our insurance! And she's basically the only one who called me back. Based on the first visit, I think she's good. Charting my son's mood is an excellent idea...I will start taking notes right away. I think I worry now that my son is having a depression for the first time. I worry about how it will affect his life as an adult etc. But at the same time I should be grateful that we found out and are taking action. It might have been going on for a while... I thought it was just being a teenager. I hope the medication works for him. Thank you again for your insight.

momuv4girls replied to Larkspur22102's response:
Your very welcome. I too hope the Abilify will provide some relief for your son's depression.

Another quick thought:
This organization is really great! They have a lot of resources and information you may find useful,

Write back anytime, am happy to help, as I understand how difficult life can get sometimes.

Larkspur22102 replied to momuv4girls's response:
Will do! Thanks again! :)

Spotlight: Member Stories

Five years ago it felt like the end of what I would have called a beautiful life. My marriage ended and I became a single parent of what I didn't ...More

Helpful Tips

"Trigger "warnings - please add them to your post subject lines!
Hi Everyone! Please add a "Trigger" warning to any post starter that has a topic of self harm. Self harm is a sensitive topic and a ... More
Was this Helpful?
23 of 31 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.