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When and How Depression is Treated

Signs and Symptoms

The hallmark symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or irritable most of the day nearly every day
  • Significant change in appetite or weight
  • Lack of energy, trouble sleeping
  • Restlessness or slowing down of movement
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
  • Loss of pleasure in formerly enjoyed activities
  • Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches or stomach aches

When to Seek Professional Help

You should seek professional help and guidance when the child:

  • Shows a depressed or irritable mood and/or other symptoms for at least two weeks
  • Shows a decline in functioning in school, at home or with friends
  • Spends time alone at home without interests
  • Has thoughts or expressions of suicide or self destructive behavior

How Depression is Treated

A number of treatment methods have proven effective. These include:

  • Medication and psychotherapy, which can be equally effective; one or both can be chosen as treatment options
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (ITP), which are two types of therapy that have been found to be effective.

The Risks of Not Treating a Child with Depression

A child with undetected or untreated depression is at risk for:

  • Poor school attendance and academic performance
  • Problems such as anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Depression in adulthood
  • Suicide

More Information

For more information and a list of related articles, visit the Depression page of our A-Z Disorder Guide.