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Depression in Children and Teens - Home Treatment

Do everything possible to provide a supportive family environment. Love, understanding, and regular communication are some of the most important things you can provide to help your child cope with depression.

In addition to having a positive home life, staying in professional counseling, and taking medicines as prescribed, good lifestyle habits can help reduce your child's symptoms of depression. Encourage your child to:

  • Get regular exercise, such as swimming, walking, or playing vigorously every day. For more information, see the topic Physical Activity for Children and Teens.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, nonprescription medicines, herbal therapies, and medicines that have not been prescribed (because they may interfere with the medicines used to treat depression).
  • Get enough sleep. If your child has problems sleeping, he or she might try:
    • Going to bed at the same time every night.
    • Keeping the bedroom dark and quiet.
    • Not exercising after 5:00 p.m.
  • Eat a balanced diet. If your child lacks an appetite, try to get him or her to eat small snacks rather than large meals.
  • Spend time with supportive friends.
  • Be hopeful about feeling better. Positive thinking is very important in recovering from depression. It is difficult to be hopeful when you feel depressed, but remind your child that improvement occurs gradually and takes time.

If you notice any warning signs of suicide (such as aggressive or hostile behavior, excessive thoughts about death, or detachment from reality), seek professional help immediately by calling either your child's doctor, a professional counselor, or a local mental health or emergency service. Call911if you feel your child is in immediate danger.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 03, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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