In many cases, a person can recover from a long term depression and be able to experience most activities of daily living. In some cases, however, if the person is unable to make progress, antidepressants may be necessary to help the person get past the pain and discomfort.
Treatment with antidepressants for children with depression and anxiety disorders is typically based on a combination of behavior therapy, family and friends, and psychotherapy. Family, friends and therapists may offer suggestions and guidance to help the doctor and patient develop a treatment plan.
One of the most common types of antidepressant prescribed to children with depression and anxiety disorders is SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which is one of the few medications available that can effectively treat these symptoms. Children may also be prescribed monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are also used often to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. Other types of medications, including anticholinergic drugs and other types of antipsychotics, have been used to treat ADHD and anxiety disorders.
In most cases in adolescents, treatment strategies are similar to other children diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders: therapy, family, friends, behavioral therapy, and/or medication.
In adults, a combination of behavioral approaches, behavioral counseling, and behavioral medicine is often used. Treatment strategies can include medication, counseling, and/or education programs. The most common treatment approaches include psychotherapy, parent therapy, and family-oriented psychological therapy.
While behavioral treatments are the most common, medication can also help adults with an anxiety disorder, OCD, or depression or anxiety related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Anxiety medication may also be prescribed to help treat some children with depression and OCD. These medications will help regulate anxiety and reduce symptoms while improving quality of life for the patient.
Medications are sometimes used to help improve the quality of life of children who have been hospitalized. These medications are often combined with an education and coping approach while the patient is hospitalized.
Behavioral therapies are also used in cases where people with severe mental illness have failed at other treatment approaches. For instance in children with autism or for children with bipolar disorder, behavioral therapists take several courses of therapy to improve the children's ability to live and function normally. In the case of ADHD, these therapy sessions also focus on problems associated with the behavioral symptoms.
If treatment fails, most children with depression and anxiety are able to return to community in a few months to a few years.
Kids with depression and anxiety also have a higher risk for developing other mental illness in later life. Because mental illnesses can take a long time to get better, these children can often be a significant burden to their families, friends, and communities. Preventing future episodes of mental illness also means making sure that the person can make a change.