15 answers

13 Year Old on Antidepressants

I have been having some issues with my daughter who is 13 now. She is very moody and does not communicate very well. It seemed this school year it got worse. With failing grades ( she has never done so poorly in the past, nto turning in homework after she had done it ! So to make a long story short the doctor feels she is depressed. They subscribed her Prozak. ( which I had and still do have mixed feelings on how quick we are to drug our kids) Anyways. She has been taking them for a little over 30 days now. I do see a positive differance but She is now complaining how tired she is and feels the pills are making her sleepy. She likes to use "I am tired to get out chores or if she bored since I hate hearing my kids say that ) I see a difference in her attitude such as I don't have to ask 500 questions, we dont seem to annoy her as much. And she finally starting to open up, relax and talk to me. I not sure what to do. She is stil dropping her head and hiding in her hair when addressed by non family members. She makes excuses as to why she cant hang with her friends ( I encourage playdates if you will) She assumes everyone is too busy and wont make the call. She does have hobbies we support, she is an awesome drawer, she has taught her self, flash and power point, working on photoshop now and many other software . Loves to animate drawings on the computer. She is seeing a therepist on a weekly basis.

I would appreciate any input you can give, Has anyone else had any experience with the meds making them feel sleepy ?
Or any other advise to help the family help her. I would love to see my little girl back again.

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I have a 13 year old on Prozac. We haven't had any problem at all, but I've been on different anti-depressants over the years and had problems with being sleepy. Have you tried giving her the meds at night before bed rather then in the morning? That can make the world of difference.

If you'd like to compare notes on depression/social anxiety, let me know. I have a 12 and a 13 year old. Neither will call anyone on the phone. Fortunatly, they have each other.

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That's great that she's seeing a therapist weekly......That's what she needs, not to be drugged. If the therapist prescribed the drugs however, you may want to "shop" around. There is NO reason she should be on medication unless she's been clinically diagnosed as bi-polar......My husband's ex-wife "self-diagnosed" their daughter as needing anti-depressants, to which the family doctor happily wrote out a prescription for. Well his daughter was extremely sleepy too. So his ex, in her infinite wisdom, put her on ADHD medicine, to rev her up during the day so she wouldn't fall asleep at school. Long story short......my husband finally got her to take their daughter to be evaluated by a licensed psychologist and they were like "What's your daughter doing on all these meds?!?!" She started therapy with an individual/family councelor (against her will) and things got better. When she quit going, she got worse.......This may be something that you and your husband need to partake in as well as the family dynamics and environment are what have made this child the way she is.......

For the most part, kids do not need to be on meds (or adults either). If she's having difficulty, you need to get to the route of it.

1 mom found this helpful


My son has been on Prozac for about two years now, and sleepiness is a side effect. Check with your doctor to see if this occurs a lot for your daughter's age (between growing and natural hormones she may need to sleep more than before), but trust me when I say that the prozac made a HUGE difference in our lives. My son became so much more open and relaxed. The main key with depression is to also get therapy. Please do not just depend on the prozac alone!


Prozac is a mild anti-depressant that seems to help some people. Ask your doctor if sleepiness could be a side effect and if she should be on a lower dose. AF


My oldest daughter is 13 as well and she suffered from depression as well. I believe what is happening with your daughter has alot to do with her age and her hormone levels changing. My daughter was on seizure medication and did everything you've said about your daughter as well. I would suggest her wean off of prozac to help with the sleepiness and just have her involved with other children her age in a church setting, create an activity for her and her friends. Feel free to contact me as well, I know my daughter can relate and try to help her. Maybe she just needs a friend to talk too.

Hope this helps

J. Z.
Independent Shaklee Distributor

You know I was diagnosed with depression when I was active duty Navy. I strongly believe that I was depressed at the age of 12 possibly longer. I also believe that antidepressants have improved my quality of life that I couldn't maintain without the added chemicals. I would suggests researching your options. Prozac isn't the only antidepressant. I have taken Wellbutrin, and Zoloft. I love the zoloft. I don't have the overwhelming doom feeling anymore and I can wake up and face the day and I'm not always tired. Talk with her pediatrician. You have options.

Thirteen is a hard age. I don't have experience with prozac, but I have experience with 13 year olds in the family. There is a lot of pressure at 13. Pressue to be popular, pretty, cool, wear this, do that. Similar to what we went through, yet different. More. Younger. When my brother was this age he want from doing well to do REALLY poorly, not turning in homework,etc. My mom wondered if he was on drugs and yanked him to a psychologist so fast he had whiplash! Turns out there were two things going on. 1. his grades - his 3rd period teacher insisted that all homework be turned in before the start of the school day or it was considered late. He didn't feel like walking across the school in the morning to turn in his homework, he wanted to hang with his friends, so his homework was late or wasn't accepted. Grades went down. 2. bully. There was a group of boys that were picking on him for being smart. Kicking his heals, pushing, dropping his books, etc. He knew if he got in a fight that he'd be in trouble at home, so he just took it, and became depressed and angry at home. When my Mom/Dad found out they were shocked. They didn't want him to fight, but defending himself was different. As soon as he was given that green light, he defended himself only once. The kids were so shocked to see that he wasn't a wimpy geek that they started leaving him alone. He came home that day estatic. Things quickly went back to normal.
Another post suggested being more active in church, which is good,and I agree with, but youth groups in church can be very cliquish. If you're not one of the popular ones... Does your daughter have any interests - music, painting, running? Perhaps if you help her find strength in something outside of school and church that she likes, feels good about, then her attitude will improve. My son just started taking Tae Kwon Do in Woodbridge. There are many girls there. I think its good becuase TKD is an independent thing that each person can strive at and there is no pressure to be better than someone else.
Good luck,

I was using Prozak long time ago and my experience was not pleasant. I felt I was becoming addicted to it and felt tired most of the time. One day without the doctor's advise I stopped taking it and my symptoms of depression became worse. I found out after that to get them out of your system you need to do slowly by decreasing the dosis. One of my neigbors used this drug for long time (two or three years). She gained a lot of weight and she attribute this to the use of Prozac. Anyway, I think it's not a good choice to go for antidepressants.
I have three teens of 15th and a set of twins (14th). It's very common this days for teens to get depression. Two of my kids went that way and the best result has been therapy without using drug. In the case of my kids was self-steam. My son was kind of afraid to talk to people and socialize with other kids. My daugther was the opposite she just wanted freedom - time to spend with friends but not follow any of her responsibilites with school and at home. I believe this is due to the hormone changes and the attendion they don't get from full time working parents like me. Both of my kids got better without using any drugs and with more attendion to boost their self-steam.
I hope this information help you decide what's best for your daughter.
Good Luck,

Hi Sue.
I'm a psychologist, and the symptoms your daughter describes could very well be side effects from Prozac. You might want to check in with her psychiatrist to alter the medication--different meds interact with us in different ways, which makes psychiatry a bit of an art as well as a science. :0)

I'm glad that she's also in individual therapy--make sure that you check in with her therapist so that she/he knows what you see as well.

Hope this helps!

J. Bindeman, Psy-D

I have a 13 year old on Prozac. We haven't had any problem at all, but I've been on different anti-depressants over the years and had problems with being sleepy. Have you tried giving her the meds at night before bed rather then in the morning? That can make the world of difference.

If you'd like to compare notes on depression/social anxiety, let me know. I have a 12 and a 13 year old. Neither will call anyone on the phone. Fortunatly, they have each other.

I have dealt with mental illness for years (OCD and Bipolar II). Anti-depressants can certainly make you feel tired but that should only be within the first few weeks. From what you described it sounds if your daughter may be Bipolar. My sister is quite the artist (graduated with an art degree) and she has some of the same symptoms as your daughter. My sister knew she was bipolar at 15. She was diagnosed a year ago. You might want to ask your doctor about it. Anti-depressant can make bipolar symptoms worse. I hope she starts to feel better. It's so hard to deal with mental illness, but it can be treated and there are ways to get through the symptoms.

Good luck to you and your family :)

Good Morning Sue,

I understand where you are, I also have a 13 year old and two years ago she was raped I have dealt with the depression, the not wanting to talk not wanting to be around people. She also use to enjoy drawing but now she has a journal and she writes everything down. But the one thing with the journal is you present it to her but reassure her that regardless of what she puts in it her journal is private. No matter how bad you want to you cannot read it, even ifshe never tells you anything in the journal she can write it and get it out, or allow her to draw in private sometimes drawind how you feel also helps. I am not a supporter of the medication Pray about it and ask GOD to strengthen her, and if it is meant to bring her off of the medication. I pray this helps/


Hello Sue,

My daughter (23) was put on Prozak late last year and she has never slept so much in her life, if she dosen't keep moving she is out like a light. but she is sticking with them because she does feel much more balanced when she is on them. Wish we had Started her on them when she was still in her early teens. could of saved all of us a lot of heartache. Good luck

Hi! 13 is such a hard age! I have a daughter who is 13 as well. And there are days I want to run screaming from the house!! As far as the meds go, with anti depressants it takes over 30 days for the sleepiness to disappear. I know this from personal experience. If it doesn't get better after 6 weeks I would call your doctor.
I hope this helps some!! Take Care!!

HI Sue,
good for you that you actively searched out help for your daughter and didn't wait until the situation was extreme. I have a similar situation with my 15 yr. old son. He was diagnosed w/ psychotic depression and we've been through alot. Finally, I gave in and let them try the meds...he also started out on prozac. And yes, he was sleepy. He has now downgraded to a less strong med called Celexa, but the sleepiness is still there to a degree. But my son doesn't just say he's tired, he falls asleep in the middle of the day( but he also has a medical condition he's dealing with, so I am not sure if that intensifies the effect).
My advice is to tell your therapist the meds are working, but she has the tiredness side effect. The way this med works does bring this on...but sometimes it lessens as the body adjusts...your doc will know if he may need to adjust her dosage.
Personally, I'd rather have my son sleepy than aggitated, depressed, and, at times, even suicidal. I was warned by well meaning family members that these drugs can cause suicidal thoughts...but he was already having them and we were desperate to get him help.
I cant' tell you the difference it's made for him. He's been on the treatment now for about 4 months and he's a different boy. And if he forgets to take his pill...he starts to slide back into his old self..so I can see that it's working. In my sons' case his medical condition causes his seratonin levels to be way too low.
If you daughter is telling you the pills make her tired, make sure she realizes how important it is that she continue taking them and suggest ways for her to combat the drowsiness( like taking a walk with her, playing DDR, or getting her out of the house for fresh air)
I also work and feel guilty at times for not always being there...but they need a roof over thier heads, don't they. We as moms do the best we can and the guilt really isn't neccesary. You have been a good parent to your daughter, gotten her the appropriate help and follow through with weekly therapy. She'll appreciate that so much as she grows up.
Don't let the negative vibes you get from others deter you...if you can see that this treatment is helping your daughter than stick with it. Your doc can work with the drowsiness,...if she complains alot tell her to take a nap! It's summer and she can get away with it. If you think it's an excuse to be withdrawn than make suggestions on actions she can take and go with her when you can. Or talk to your doc about your feelings and let him also give her some help in that area.
Sorry so long...just really in this same boat right now and want to make sure you know that you are doing all the right things;)
Hang in there...they wont be teens forever!

i take meds for anxiety and i find that taking it first thing in the morning helps so I am up and running and the sleepiness does not affect me so much.....or take it last thing at night so she works with the sleepiness. try both ways for at least a week straight. Sitting in school, after taking the meds may very well make her too tired. if the meds are taken either morning or night and you still have midday sleepiness on your hands i would definetly assume that to be psycosymatic.

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