Considerations for Depression in Children
Treatment of Childhood Depression
Individual and group counseling are usually used as the first treatment for a child with depression, and are directed at helping the child to master his or her difficulties and develop in the best way possible. Play therapy may be used as a way to explore the younger child's view of him- or herself, the disease, and treatment. From the beginning of treatment, a child needs help to understand, at his or her developmental level, the diagnosis of cancer and the treatment involved. A doctor may prescribe medications, such as antidepressants, for children. Some of the same antidepressants prescribed for adults may also be prescribed for children. (See the Treatment section for information about FDA warnings on antidepressant use in children and adolescents.)
For information about suicide in children and warnings about SSRI use, see the Depression and Suicide section in the PDQ summary on Pediatric Supportive Care.