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17-Sep-14 8:45 AM  CST  

Treating Childhood Depression Before It Gets Out of Hand 

Treating childhood depression early on is a must. Sometimes adolescent depression can be accompanied with an anxiety disorder and sometimes it is hard to tell whether a child or teen is depressed as depression can affect kids differently than adults. With the pressures of school, bullying, and peer pressure, depression can come on at an early age. Right now, the following drugs have been approved for the treatment of adolescent depression and depressive disorders. The medications are also used to treat anxiety disorders as well. Here is a look at the two medications used to treat younger adults suffering from depression and anxiety:


An old standard.  The FDA only has two medications approved for childhood depression.  Prozac (fluoxetine) has been approved for depressive symptoms in kids and Prozac is considered an old stand-by drug in the pharmaceutical world and is very popular among prescribing psychiatrists.


A Newer Choice.  Lexapro (escitalopram) is another alternative to Prozac in treating depression in adolescents. It remains to be seen if there will be other medication choices for children with depression and anxiety disorders.


            Some parents choose therapy, medications, or a combination of both to treat their child’s depression. Mitchell Mathis, M.D., and Director of the FDA’s Division of Psychiatry products has some wise words to say concerning medications treating childhood depression. “A lot of kids respond very well to drugs. Sometimes, young people can stop taking the medication after a period of stability, because some of these illnesses are not a chronic disorder like major depression. There are many things that help young psychiatric patients get better, and drugs are just one of them,” said Mathis.

            Every child is different and a proper psychiatric evaluation by a trained psychiatrist, the right medication, and/or therapy can make all the difference in the world in treating childhood depression and other mental illnesses. The earlier the treatment, the better the outcome.




1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) materials.  “What is Depression?” Web. Date of Access: 16 Sept 2014. 

2. FDA Consumer Health Information Reports. “FDA: Don’t Leave Childhood Depression Untreated.” FDA. Web. Date of Access: 16 Sept 2014.  

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Source: Jennifer S. O’Reilly

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