Monday, May 15, 2006

Treating Childhood Depression

The latest research reported in the Lancet suggests that childhood depression is often difficult to treat. With little in the way of scientific evidence to guide the use of antidepressants, treating children can be problematic. And although depression is common among children and adolescents, recent data pertaining to the increaded risk of suicidal behavior among children taking antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft have called their use into question.
The latest research reported in September shows that major depressive disorders affect nearly 1-2 percent of children 6-12 years, and 2-5 percent of teenagers. In addition, it shows that 14-25 percent of children and adolescents have at least one major depressive episode before they reach adulthood.
Depression in children is not a short or transient phenomena. It is relatively common, with impairment that can last awhile, deserving treatment. Given the recent problems of antidepressants causing suicidal thoughts, many experts believe that medication should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a very valuable and effective means of treating depression. Children shouldn't be limited to medication.

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