Promising New Depression Research Offers Early Intervention Technique for Children

Joan L. Luby, MD

It is known that depression can manifest as early as 3 years old, and that the condition can give way to future disorders. Because medication is inappropriate and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is ineffective at such a young age, finding treatment options has been challenging.

However, recent studies conducted by NARSAD Independent Investigator Grantee Joan L. Luby, MD and colleagues at Washington University have found that a form of therapy called Parent Child Interaction Therapy-Emotion Development (PCIT-ED) is helpful in treating toddler depression. It involves building on the parent-child relationship by teaching positive play techniques, and aids the parent to help the child recognize emotions in self and others, as well as cope with these emotions.

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