The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently released a study stating that therapy-based treatment may be effective in treating childhood depression in children as young as three years old.
“The beauty of this form of treatment, parent-child interaction therapy, is that it engages both the parent and the child” says John Sargent, MD, chief of the Division of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry at Tufts Children's Hospital at Tufts Medical Center, in a WCVB interview.
This form of therapy was originally created for parents of children with behavioral issues, and has been adapted to work for children with depression.
“What is novel about this is that you take the same form of therapy and you apply it to depressed kids, withdrawn kids and it’s equally effective” says Dr. Sargent.
According to the NIH, children that received treatment were less likely to show signs of depression than children with no parental or therapeutic intervention. Parent-child interaction therapy also teaches parents how to effectively communicate with their child at home on a day-to-day basis.
“You don’t raise a child in order for them to fail and the experience to be unrewarding,” says Dr. Sargent. “What this therapy does is it furthers that natural bond that a parent has with a child.”
According to Dr. Sargent, children as young as three may show signs of depression. He cautions parents to watch out for children displaying apathy, trouble concentrating, and general irritability.