Children & Adolescents

Brain Matters
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Diagnosing Early-Onset Depression in Young Children

There was a longstanding belief that pre-pubescent children were too developmentally and cognitively immature to experience the core aspects of depression. In the mid-1980s research studies disputed those claims. By the late ‘80s, it was widely accepted that children ages six and older could experience clinical depression. Subsequently, treatment studies looked at various forms of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology for that age group. Recent studies, including ours at Washington University, have extended that story down to age three.

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Neurofeedback App Improves Early Cognitive Deficit

In adults, bipolar disorder is characterized by swings from severe states of depression to states of either mania or hypomania (a less intense form of mania). A full manic episode usually lasts at least a week, although for some people it can last several weeks.

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Enhancing Early Childhood Development

Adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to trauma or violence, even during the prenatal period when the brain is first developing, mold how the brain is organized, and have major impact on how our genes are expressed. Brain imaging studies show that traumatized children or children raised in poverty have different interconnections in their brain regions. If you’ve been exposed to violence, you’re at an increased risk of being re-victimized.

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Young Boy Hugging Teddy Bear with Depression

Depression is a problem often associated with adults, but young children can have the condition, too. In recent years, researchers have begun to understand how depression manifests in preschoolers, what it does to the brain, and how it may affect their future mental health.

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Advice for Parents on Caring for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar illness was once referred to as “manic-depressive” illness. It’s usually a lifelong disorder, characterized by episodes of abnormal, often persistent, highs, and abnormal, often persistent, lows. The highs are characterized by a “too good” mood, irritability, increased energy, increased interest in activities, decreased need for sleep, and sometimes, delusions— some people who are manic actually believe they can fly or believe they have super powers.

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