Depression affects a significant portion of the population. This includes children and teens. In 2009, US News and World Report published an article which stated, “Serious depression afflicts two million teenagers each year”
Depressive disorders consist of a variety of symptoms in the areas of mood, thinking, behaviors and physical reactions. Mood related symptoms include sadness, irritability, depression and anger. Many depressed children and adolescents are also anxious and nervous. When children and adolescents are depressed their thinking may be characterized by negative thoughts about themselves (self criticism), negative thoughts about the future and negative interpretations/ thinking about ongoing events in their lives.
Cognitive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of depression with children and adolescents. Cognitive therapy is an active, structured, directive form of therapy that focuses on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that accompany depressive disorders. In cognitive therapy, the child learns to identify, evaluate and change the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that accompany depression. (In many cases parents are also instructed in how to help the child use CBT methods to combat their depression). CBT can lead to a significant reduction in depression symptoms – often in a brief period of time.