Teen response to acne and meds

A lot has been made about the mental health effects of teen acne and the prescription medications. Some experts claim that certain acne medications have caused teenagers to get extremely depressed and, in some cases, cause them to commit suicide. Accutane caught the most flack for this, but some expect that it’s true for other medications as well.

It was also thought that maybe teens got depressed after taking Accutane because they felt they had reached the final step. If Accutane didn’t work, then they believed they would continue to lead lives of ridicule. Many of these children already showed signs of depression before taking Accutane. In other words, it’s possible that a mental health disorder caused them to commit suicide, not the drugs contained in Accutane.

Recent research, in fact, has shown that most kids are more resilient than adults give them credit for. The typical kid might hate his acne, but it doesn’t ruin his life. He doesn’t sit in class thinking about how he could date the girl of his dreams if only he didn’t have these pimples or that the guys would respect him more if only he didn’t have these pimples.  The typical kid understands that his or her culture is complex and that a single feature isn’t the end of the world. It might feel like it on occasion, but reality always kicks in at some point.

Except for some kids it doesn’t kick back in. Those are the kids that idealize what-if scenarios all day instead of trying to find ways to make life better. I’ve been down that path before. It’s just depression and anxiety and feeling worthless. But you don’t actually blame yourself. You blame your acne. It’s a scapegoat that prevents you from improving other areas of life.

I think that most kids can handle the side effects of acne medications. If your child already shows signs of depression or any other mental illness, though, you should pay close attention to him or her while taking any drugs.

Actually, no, strike that. You need to take your kid to a counselor now so that he or she doesn’t waste those precious teenage years.


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