Depression in Children: How is it Treated?

Depression is a serious problem. It can even be more serious if it affects children. Yes, depression can affect even kids. Several decades ago, doctors believe that children are not capable of experiencing depression.

Some believed then that depression that children do experience may just be a temporary phase that can be outgrown in time. But these beliefs have since been dispelled and doctors now know that even children may display serious depression problems at any age.

Children may exhibit depression in ways similar to adults. But in addition, children may also show some symptoms that may be unique to their age given their different stages of development.

In young children, depression can be exhibited through their behavior. Some may show poor social attachments, and the lack of motivation to thrive. Some children may exhibit separation anxiety, developmental delays and sleeping and eating problems as a possible sign of depression. Some may even exhibit dangerous behaviors that should be dealt with immediately.

Treatment of depression in children may be different than what is provided for adults, given their level of development. Once depression has been diagnosed, initial action for treatment usually comes in the form of psychotherapy. A variety of psychotherapy methods have been found to be effective in treating depression in children at an early stage.

One of the best known methods being used involves cognitive-behavioral therapy. This type of therapy involves helping the child examine and change negative thought patterns as well as correct faulty negative assumptions about himself and the environment that have contributed to his depressive condition. This therapy helps in encouraging the child of learning how to cope up with his condition instead of giving up or avoiding it altogether.

Another form of therapy that is being used to treat depression in children involves the support of the family. Family therapy has also been shown to help speed up recovery in children with depression. Family intervention and positive support can help children respond better with treatment.

Family members working with the therapist can greatly help in providing a better response from the child with depression especially if the condition stems from conflicts, stress and dysfunction within the family.

Therapy that involves identifying negative thoughts, behaviors and patterns within the family circle that influence the child’s depression and turning them into positive responses can help in correcting the disorders.

There are also medications that can be used in treating depression in children. Newer medicines such as SSRI’s or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors have greatly contributed to the effective medication treatment of childhood depression.

SSRI’s seem to have lesser side effects on children as compared with older types of medication. Medication treatment would depend upon the recommendations of doctors when diagnosing the type of depression that a child may be suffering from.