Depression in Children and Adolescents

Helping kids regain a sense of purpose

Our approach to depression care for children and teens

Depression in children and teens is a serious mental health condition that can disrupt their lives and rob them of their joy. Our compassionate and experienced team is dedicated to providing care that addresses the unique needs of your child and your family.

From diagnosis to treatment and beyond, we are here to support you every step of the way. Together, we can help your child overcome depression and rediscover the happiness and hope that they deserve.

Signs and symptoms of depression

Pay close attention to your child's behavior and emotions, as depression can manifest differently in children and teens. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it's essential to take action and seek professional help.

Here are some common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teens:

  • persistent sadness or irritability
  • changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or excessive sleep)
  • loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • fatigue or lack of energy
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • physical complaints (headaches, stomachaches) with no clear cause
  • social withdrawal from friends and family

When to seek care for depression

If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above or thoughts of death or suicide, it is important to seek professional help immediately.

Reach out to your doctor or mental health professional to discuss these symptoms and explore appropriate treatment options. Early intervention can make a big difference in managing depression and promoting overall well-being.

Steps to diagnosis

Diagnosing depression in children and teens can be a complex process. If you're concerned about your child's mental health, talk to your child’s doctor. They can assess your child's symptoms and provide a diagnosis. Encourage your child to be open and honest with you and the doctor about their feelings and experiences.

Here's a summary of our diagnosis process:

  • Physical exam: Your child’s doctor will perform a physical exam to rule out other medical conditions that could be causing your child's symptoms.
  • Psychiatric evaluation: Your child will be evaluated by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. This evaluation may include interviews, questionnaires and observation.
  • Diagnostic criteria: Your child's doctor will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria to diagnose depression.

Treatments for depression

Taking a personalized approach means carefully considering your child’s unique symptoms and risks when developing a treatment plan.

Treatment for your child or teen may include:

  • Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy are effective in helping manage feelings and emotions.
  • Medication: In certain cases, antidepressants may be prescribed, but this decision is made cautiously, weighing the benefits and risks.
  • Family support: Involving your family in the treatment process is essential. A supportive and understanding environment aids recovery.
  • School involvement: Collaborating with teachers and school staff ensures academic challenges are addressed and a supportive environment is created.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Encouraging regular exercise, a balanced diet and adequate sleep contributes to overall well-being.
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Compassionate, experienced team

Our mental health experts provide comprehensive assessments, caring support and effective treatment options you can trust.

Variety of care options

We offer various therapies, medication management and support groups, plus we involve your family to ensure your child or teen can overcome depression and regain their joy.

Convenience

With locations throughout South-Central Pennsylvania, we make it convenient for you and your child or teen to get the care where you need it. You can even choose telehealth appointments so your child or teen can meet with their provider in the comfort of your own home.