Complementary medicine is sometimes used for
depression in adults. But there is
no evidence that these therapies are safe for use by children or teens.2 They can interfere with other
medicines, such as antidepressants. Always tell your doctor if you are using any complementary therapies.
Other treatment choices
Types of counseling most often used to treat
depression in children and teens are:
Family therapy, which provides a place for the whole
family to express fears and concerns and learn new ways of getting along.
Play therapy, which is used with young children or
children with developmental delays to help them cope with fears and anxieties.
But there is no proof that this type of treatment reduces symptoms of
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an effective treatment for a teen
or older child who is severely depressed or does not respond to other
treatment, although this treatment is rarely used for children and teens. Even
though it is an effective treatment for adults with major depression, there are
currently no long-term studies on the safety of using ECT.2
What to think about
The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has approved the vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) implant for
treatment of depression in adults. This device may be used when other
treatments for depression have not worked.
A generator the size
of a pocket watch is placed in the chest. Wires go up the neck from the
generator to the vagus nerve. The generator sends tiny electric shocks through
the vagus nerve to that part of the brain that is believed to play a role in
More study is needed to see how well this works in children who have depression.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this