To help parents better understand the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we have prepared the following visualization of the results of The Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study (TADS) Long-term Effectiveness and Safety Outcomes published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Joan Lipuscek is a bilingual (English & Spanish) child, teen and family therapist treating depression in Houston, TX. For children and teens with depression, she utilizes a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family Therapy.
Depression is a medical condition that can affect children, teens and adults in a variety of ways. One of the first things that many parents notice is a negative change in their child's mood. Children may be sad or angry for long periods of time, may experience aches and pains, fatigue and weight changes. Some emotional symptoms include a lack of self-esteem, sensitivity to criticism, anxiety and a lack of interest in hobbies and friends. In extreme cases, depression may also lead to thoughts of death and suicide. Sometimes depression can happen as a result of stress, illness or family problems. At other times, depression can occur as a result of an imbalance in neurochemicals. Information about national prevalence rates of depression is included in our overview of mental disorders in U.S. teens.
Many people are not aware that children and teens are susceptible to depression. Unfortunately, some children who are depressed think their feelings are normal and never ask for help. Less than 40% of children and teens with a major depressive episode receive treatment. Treatment options for depression include counseling, social skills training, psychoeducation, and medication management. It is important for the person who is diagnosed with depression to get plenty of sleep, regular exercise and eat healthy foods. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family Therapy have been shown to be effective for the treatment of depression.
To help parents better understand the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we have prepared the following visualization of the results of The Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study (TADS) Long-term Effectiveness and Safety Outcomes published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. The course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for adolescent depression included 15 one hour sessions in the first 12 weeks, once a week one hour sessions in the next six weeks and once every six weeks one hour sessions in weeks 18 through 36. At the end of the study, 81% of participants treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy had a positive response to treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was also shown to significantly reduce the incidence of suicidal thoughts and events compared to treatment with medication alone.
I use a gentle approach when treating children and teens with depression. I prefer using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family Therapy for the treatment of depression as I have found these to be most effective in my clinical experience. I begin therapy by involving the entire family in the session and providing a safe space for the family to express their concerns and anxieties. I assess the child's level of depression and issues that may be contributing or exacerbating the condition. I offer parents information about depression and techniques to manage it at home. If needed, I will refer the child to a psychiatrist for medication. If a child begins medication I will evaluate the need for continued therapy. I typically encourage weekly therapy sessions until the most severe symptoms of depression have subsided.
After coming to therapy on a consistent basis, your child should show renewed interest in his/her former activities and hobbies. Children and teens emerging from depression may also begin to form new friendships and nurture old ones. Ideally, they will also begin to take an increased interest in their daily activities, find eating pleasurable again and their sleep habits should improve. There should be a reduction in moody and angry behavior as the depression subsides and parents should see an increase in self-esteem.