Depression Treatment in ChildrenIf your healthcare provider diagnoses your child with depression, there are many different treatment options available. Your child's treatment plan may include medications (antidepressants) and/or psychotherapy. You should develop this plan with your healthcare provider and other members of your family, including your child; giving your child an active role in planning his or her treatment can be very important to his or her improvement and recovery.
The best thing that you can do for a child who may have depression is to help him or her get treated as soon as possible. Never wait to get help in the hope that the mood will pass. Depression is a serious illness, but it is treatable. The most effective form of treatment for childhood depression may include both talk therapy and medication. A mental health professional can review treatment options with you to ensure the best care for your child.
(Click Treatment of Childhood Depression for more information, including details on psychotherapy and depression medications. Click Antidepressants in Children for more information about using depression medications in children.)
Prognosis for Childhood Depression
Most children and adolescents with depression experience a recurrence. Twenty to 40 percent of depressed children relapse within two years, and 70 percent will do so by adulthood.
The age of first onset of childhood depression appears to play a role in its course. Children who first become depressed before puberty are at risk of some form of mental disorder in adulthood, while teenagers who first become depressed after puberty are most likely to experience another episode of depression.
(Click Outcome of Childhood Depression for more information on this topic.)