A good diagnostic evaluation will include the following:
- A complete history of symptoms to determine how long and how often they have been present
- Questions about the thoughts of death or suicide
- Inquiry about any family history of depression and other mental illnesses
Primary care clinicians should evaluate for depression in high-risk adolescents as well as those who present with emotional problems as the chief complaint. Clinicians should assess for depressive symptoms based on diagnostic criteria established in the DSM-IV or ICD 10 and should use standardized depression tools to aid in the assessment.
Both psychotherapies and antidepressant medications can be effective in treating childhood and adolescent depression.
Psychotherapies proven to treat depression effectively in youth:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
Both are time-limited, structured therapies that are typically administered in either individual or group sessions. Additional options for treatment are listed here.
Psychopharmacology shown to treat depression effectively in youth:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) (The most well-known is Fluoxetine)
These medications target a chemical in the brain called serotonin, which is believed to play a minor role in depression. Other therapies such as family therapy, play therapy, and other medication treatments are available but there is little evidence demonstrating their effectiveness.
- Review these treatment options with the child and his/her family
- Include the child and his/her family in the treatment plan
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