Sent by Joyce DelRosario

There are some specific ways you can make your home safe for a depressed teen. This is a difficult illness, but it can be managed. Develop a treatment plan, eliminate or secure alcohol and medications, and create a positive environment. 

Devise a Plan of Treatment 

You need to have a talk with your teen and his/her doctor. Generally speaking, depressed teens respond well to a combination of talk therapy and antidepressant medications. If the depression is severe, it might be necessary for the teen to remain at a hospital for treatment. Aside from having a treatment plan, you also need to ensure that your home is safe for a depressed teen. 

• Secure or Eliminate Alcohol 

If you have alcohol in the house, it must be either secured or removed. Teens suffering from depression will often try to self-medicate. This can lead to drinking if the alcohol is easily available. Secure it by keeping alcohol in a locked cabinet. Make sure the key is on you at all times, even if you are home. Teens can be very clever, even if you think the key is hidden well, they will probably be able to find it. The other option is simply to remove all alcohol. 

Remove Guns 

It is best to not have any firearms in the house. Your teen has a mental condition that is impairing the way he or she thinks. Combine that with a natural impulsivity and inability to predict the consequences of their actions all teens struggle with, having guns in the home is simply not worth the risk. If you must have firearms, keep them locked in a secure safe and keep the key on you at all times. 

• Secure All Prescription Drugs

 As mentioned before, depressed teens will often self-medicate. Prevent this by keeping your prescriptions locked away. Some commonly abused prescription drugs are 

  • 1.  Amytal
  • 2.  Ativan
  • 3.  Xanax
  • 4.  Ambien
  • 5.  Lunesta
  • 6.  Valium
  • 7.  Adderall
  • 8.  Vicodin
  • 9.  OxyContin 

Even over the counter drugs can be abused, such as cough medicine, asthma inhalers, and allergy medicine. Teen girls with depression and an eating disorder may also abuse laxatives.  Be very aware of your medications. If large amounts are missing, you will need to keep over the counter medications secured as well prescription drugs. 

•  Maintain a Positive Environment 

Follow the suggestions made by your therapist and doctor. Be supportive of your teen by providing him or her with a positive environment that is free of judgment. Gently encourage them to do things they enjoy and talk to them. Keeping an open dialog going with your teen is important. He or she needs to feel safe and comfortable talking with you. Providing him or her with a stable routine is also helpful. 

Keep your home safe by following  these steps. Create a solid treatment plan with your doctor and therapist. Provide safety by securing all firearms and medications. Finally, make sure your teen has a safe and comfortable home.

Kaylee Wilson is a proud single mom and a professional writer. She currently contributes at Help Your Teen Now. Help Your Teen Now brings together a vast collection of resources that will help families find their bearings and help them with managing depressed teens.

Note: I received a list of tragic events that cost many lives – every one of the perpetrators on that list were on some sort of prescription drug for depression, and/or a combination of drugs.  Parents, know what your kids are abusing and pay attention to personality changes.   pb