How do we treat depression in teens and children?
Treatment type and length varies based on many factors including the causes of a child’s depression.
Evidence-based treatment for children with depression starts with therapy. For some children, adding medication to therapy can help. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for depression and is the foundational approach to treatment at Children’s Colorado. For many children experiencing depression, once a week outpatient therapy can help a child recover from depression within three to six months. More severe cases may require a brief hospitalization.
We also utilize dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which is an evidence-based treatment that has been shown to be very effective for children and teens experiencing problems with impulsivity, coping with strong emotions, dealing with stress and interpersonal conflict. This therapy is also very helpful for youth who experience suicidal thoughts or who have engaged in self-injury. Also, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) has been shown to be particularly effective for treating both anxiety and depression. Both treatments are based in mindful awareness, which has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and pain symptoms.
In addition to therapy, families can create routines to support their child’s recovery from depression. These include:
- Getting physical activity every day
- Eating nutritious meals regularly
- Staying engaged in school and family life
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Keeping up with friends and doing fun activities
Why choose Children’s Colorado for treatment of depression in kids?
Experts in our Pediatric Mental Health Institute are trained and experienced in treating childhood depression. When you receive care here, you can be certain that you and your child are receiving evidence-based treatment that ensures the best possible outcomes.
We provide high quality evaluations that are grounded in the most up-to-date research. Research into depression treatment continues to validate CBT as the most effective treatment with the highest recovery rates. Our providers have years of experience providing children with CBT and have seen its benefits.
In addition to traditional CBT, our providers are the foremost experts in the region in DBT and ACT, which have proven to help children with depression.
Moreover, all our staff are experienced with and sensitive to the needs of children who may be nervous or scared. We include resources like experts from our Ponzio Art Therapy Program and child life specialists to help kids and teens process difficult experiences and feelings. We have toys, art materials, snacks and other soothing items to help put kids at ease.