Depression

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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Prevention of Depression

Some of the most talked-about risk factors for depression, like genetics and the wiring of the brain, are not things that one can easily change. These are far from the only things that can contribute to depression, however, and within this complexity is a message of empowerment, according to Michael Berk, M.D. Ph.D.

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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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Teenager with Depression

The teenage years are awkward. From cracking voices to gangling arms and legs, teenagers struggle to adjust to their ever-changing bodies. Those physical changes are accompanied by even more dramatic emotional changes. Teens are almost expected to be sullen, moody, and rebellious. They often engage in risky behaviors, forgetting that they are not invincible.

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Sad Young Man with Depression

Each year about 15 million people in America experience the debilitating effects of depression. About one patient in seven doesn’t respond to treatment. Fritz Henn, M.D. Ph.D., is working hard to solve this problem. He’s a professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and a member of the Foundation’s Scientific Council.​

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