When your teen is battling an issue like ADHD, depression, or anxiety, you want to do everything you can to help them function in a healthy way. This may involve parenting techniques, therapy, medication, or some combination of the three. Because we want the best for our kids and their future health, parents often worry whether those medications are overprescribed. But are they? Do we give these medications to our kids too easily? Are we allowing too much dependence on prescriptions, to the detriment other things?
These questions are difficult to answer. Since the long-term effects of some medications may not be known for decades, we do have cause for concern. But do those potential risks outweigh the benefits of a more well-adjusted adolescence?
Is Medication Right for Your Teen?
Recent decades have seen a significant rise in the number prescriptions given to children and teens for things like ADHD, depression, and anxiety. While some speculate that this is due to over-diagnosis, it may also be because of increased awareness. While doctors often recommend medication, any parent who receives this news about their child would do well to do a few things:
Get another opinion – You trust your doctor, but a second opinion on diagnosis and treatment is just good practice, whatever the recommendations are.
Research non-prescription options – Your child or teen may indeed benefit from medication. But before moving ahead with it, make sure you understand the side effects and what other choices exist. There may be parenting techniques and natural supplements that could reduce or eliminate the need for medication. These may include Omega-3s, vitamins, herbals, and amino acids. Talk to a doctor about all the options.
Ensure the prescription is the right one – While one of the oft-prescribed medicines might be appropriate in your case, you still want to make sure the one prescribed is the best fit for your teen and their unique situation.
Should You Consider Stopping Medication?
As your doctor should warn you, some medications can actually worsen the symptoms adolescents are dealing with. Sometimes they can bring on undesirable side effects that make their problem more complex, such as excessive sleepiness, moodiness, hyperactivity, or even suicidal thoughts. If you decide to begin medicating after considering the potential risks, watch your teen closely for these side effects and ask them often how they are feeling. If you have concerns about their prescription, don’t waste any time talking to their doctor about your concerns. If necessary, investigate trying a different medication, reducing the dose, or stopping the drug altogether in favor of a different treatment approach.
The Bottom Line
Remember, you are your teen’s best advocate for both their mental and physical health, now and into the future. Do your homework, watch for any changes in your teen, and make sure your voice is heard. For more information on treating and living with a teen with anxiety, ADHD, depression, or other issues, visit Sundance Canyon Academy.