Information flows around the world in a manner of seconds–it’s amazing! We all watched last week when peaceful demonstrations, facilitated by social media, helped to topple a corrupt and oppressive government. So, what does this have to do with children and treatment?

Like many mental health professionals, the internet has given us opportunities to keep up with a variety of current issues, research studies, and trends in our field. Instead of trying to keep up with 3 or 4 journals a month, we have access to just about any published article, sometimes before it is even published.

When I started college many years ago, a literature search involved long hours combing through guides to periodic literature. Today a literature review involves going to an online library and reading about topics of interest from peer reviewed journals not just in English, but translated text from all over the world.

There have recently been a slew of articles about evidence-based treatments. Many of these review research (meta-analyses) and try to find patterns not just from one university, hospital, or treatment center, but from multiple trials and projects. Here are some of the findings that we believe parents, mental health therapists, and primary medical providers should be aware of as they relate to treatment of children and adolescents.

  1. When children are given medication for depression or anxiety, they often discontinue because of side effects such as stomach aches, trouble sleeping, agitation, diarrhea, sedation, irritability, fatigue, and in rare cases, thoughts of self-harm.
  2. Many studies find that when children are given sugar pills (aka placebo) they do almost as well as when they receive “real” medication.
  3. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone works as well in the short term, and is better at preventing relapse.
  4. Like medication, CBT can change the way the brain works. Unlike medication, there are few side-effects and many spill over benefits to the child and the whole family who learn new ways to handle difficult feelings.

Another consideration when treating children is context. If you treat a boy who is legitimately depressed or anxious because he is the victim of bullying with medication, you’re not really addressing the issue. Or is a girl is quite anxious because her parents are getting divorced, medication hardly seems an appropriate response.

We like to view most emotional and behavioral problems in children as normal responses to abnormal events, environments, biological challenges, or genetics. Providing a short time fix (medication) for a problem that may continue to plague a child, does not give the child the tools necessary to adjust to future demands.

In the short haul, many (including health care professionals and insurance companies) look to medication as a quick fix. However, when viewed over time, putting the effort into changing patterns of thinking and behaving can have life time benefits.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 4 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks

No trackbacks yet to this post.






    Last reviewed: 15 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Smith, L. (2011). Treating Children with Depression or Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/anxiety/2011/02/treating-children-with-depression-or-anxiety/

 

Anxiety & OCD Exposed



Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed

Archives


News



Purchase Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies now! Purchase Child Psychology and Development for Dummies now!

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. are authors of many books, including Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies and Child Psychology & Development for Dummies.

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Beverley: I am speaking as a non bpd sufferer but someone who is in a,relationship with a bpd sufferer who is...
  • Beverley: I think in response to Chris you need to shave this back a bit. There is a duty of care to yourself first...
  • Shana: I think this is great advice. Starting when my child was small, and she was afraid of the dark, we had a...
  • Gigi: Thank you for mentioning the seeming polarity of Freud with the id vs. superego concept. We could also add that...
  • glutensensitive: you can get tested at enterolab.com for all forms of gluten sensitivity, not just celiac disease....
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!