Typically, once your child or adolescent has been diagnosed with depression, your mental health practitioner will discuss the treatment options available. Remember, just as depression affects no two children in exactly the same way, there is no single ideal treatment that works for all children. Its essential to begin treatment as soon as possible, but its equally important to become as informed as possible about the options for treatment. It may also be beneficial to involve your child in treatment decisions, depending on his or her age and level of maturity. Similar to adult depression treatment methods, treating depression in children and adolescents typically includes psychotherapy and medication, or a combination of the two. Many mental health professionals prefer starting treatment in children and adolescents with psychotherapy. Depending upon the therapys progress and the childs state of mind, medication may be considered as an additional option. Your mental health professional may recommend antidepressant medication as part of your childs treatment. However, its important for parents to become informed about any warnings or known risks associated with the drug prescribed before your child begins taking any medication. Psychotherapy focuses on the causes of the depression and typically involves interactive conversations between the therapist and child, and may also include family members. There are also a number of behavioral therapies that also can be beneficial in treating depression. Cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT, helps young people replace distorted or harmful thought patterns with more positive feelings and behaviors, and is often effective in treating depression, as is interpersonal therapy, which focuses on the impact of interpersonal events on a childs emotional state. Younger children may benefit from play therapy, which utilizes toys, games and drawings to help children express their feelings - while the therapist gains insight to the childs problems by observing the way in which the child engages with the playthings. Parents can help, too! Remind your child that you love and support them no matter what - and keep an eye out for any warning signs that call for immediate professional attention. Depression can be treated successfully in more than 80 percent of children and adolescents. But its key to seek professional help and begin treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect your child is suffering from depression, please consult a mental health professional.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012