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Depression in Children and Adolescents

Depression in Children and Adolescents

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Center specializes in the diagnosis and the treatment of disorders of emotion, cognition and/or behavior affecting children from infancy to age 21 years. The Center consists of a large teaching clinic in which evaluation and treatment is conducted by Child Psychiatry Fellows under the supervision of our Faculty, some of whom have distinct areas of special interest and expertise in depression, within the field of child psychiatry. Our physicians specialize in the assessment and care of children with serious and/or complex mental health conditions, who generally require comprehensive treatment planning in a University Medical Center setting. We rely on and work closely with our partners in the community to help carry out many aspects of the treatment plans developed for our patients.

Depression Studies in Young Children

Scientific studies have now shown that depression can be identified as early as 3 years of age. Some of the signs and symptoms to look for in a young child that may be earlier markers of depression are lack of pleasure in activities and play, decreased energy, and high levels of guilt. Overall there is a great deal of continuity in the core symptoms of depression across the lifespan and as early as age 3 as long as developmental adjustments are considered. Early parent-child psychotherapies that focus on emotion development are currently being explored as an early intervention in depression and preschool children between the ages of 3 and 6 with worrisome signs and symptoms may be eligible for participation in our NIMH ongoing study.