In this edition of Vital Signs, treating depression in children and adolescents. A study at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas indicates cognitive behavioral therapy combined with medication can improve the long-term success of treatment. Dr. Betsy Kennard, who's with both institutions, is lead author of the study.
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What is depression?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness says about one in five teens will experience depression at some point. It’s often thought of as an adult illness and not always recognized when it affects children and adolescents, but depression produces persistent symptoms which interfere with their ability to live. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step towards recovery.
If one or more of these signs persist, parents should seek professional help:
- Difficulty with relationships.
- Increased irritability, anger or hostility.
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure.
- Low self-esteem and guilt.
- Social isolation, poor communication.
- Persistent boredom; low energy.
- Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities.
- Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying.
- Frequent complaints of physical illnesses such as headaches and stomachaches.
- Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school.
- Poor concentration.
- A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns.
- Talk of or efforts to run away from home
- Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior.