Treatment of Childhood Depression

Treating childhood depression may involve medications and/or psychotherapy. A few of the medications a healthcare provider may prescribe for treating childhood depression include SSRIs such as sertraline, paroxetine, and escitalopram; and SNRIs like duloxetine and venlafaxine. Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy are among the types of psychotherapy that may be used either alone or in combination with drug treatment. Childhood depression is most easily treated when diagnosed early.

An Overview of Depression Treatment in Children

Childhood depression is a condition that affects a young person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and body. Depression in children is not a personal weakness; it's a mental health problem. The good news is that childhood depression is treatable, especially when it is diagnosed early.
For a child diagnosed with depression, treatment and services should be tailored to the needs of the individual child. A child or adolescent in need of treatment or services and his or her family may need a plan of care based on the severity and duration of symptoms. This plan is best developed with the family, service providers, and a service coordinator (who is referred to as a case manager). Whenever possible, the child or adolescent is involved in decisions. This "system of care" is designed to improve the child's ability to function in all areas of life -- at home, at school, and in the community.
Current treatment options for childhood depression include psychotherapy and/or medications.


Psychotherapy is often tried as an initial treatment for mild depression in children. Psychotherapy, or "talk" therapy, may help to determine the severity and persistence of the depression and whether antidepressant medications may be needed. Types of psychotherapy include "cognitive behavioral therapy," which helps a child learn new ways of thinking and behaving, and "interpersonal therapy," which helps the child understand and work through troubled personal relationships.
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Depression in Children

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