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Women's Health: Postpartum Community
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202436 tn?1326477933

6 yo old diagnosed with depression (specifically dysthimic disorder)

Ok, so some of you read my post about DD's behavior problems. So, I took her to the ped. he referred her to a pscyhologist.  We filled out a gazillion questionnares about her behavior, had the school fill one out.  I had one appt with him WITH dd there and one appt withOUT her there so we were able to discuss in depth her problems.  He said he feels she has dsythimic disorder (for those who don't know it's like a milder depression but it runs constantly in the background and wears you down).  He wants to do therapy with her to teach her how to open up and talk about things...possibly art therapy.  He has referred her to a pschiatrist which I'm pretty sure the psych will want to prescribe medicine.  I'm not a big advocate for psychiatric medications in young children unless it's a LAST resort.  

Has anyone had any experience with psychiatric disorders in young children.  Any advice on how to help her, how to handle this?  This is another reason I am most likely going to quit my job to be a sahm mom.  I feel it will allow me time to rejuvenate and be able to destress so I am able to deal with outbursts and major tantrums in a calmer, more productive way.  It will give me more time to spend working with her as well.  

The psychologist said he feels her prognosis is good and because we are treating her early she will probably not have any major problems functioning in life when she gets older.  Does anyone know of any good books, websites, chatrooms, forums (besides here, the depression forum doesn't seem to get much traffic) relating to mental health issues in small children?  

Any suggestions or advice would definately be appreciated.   It's pretty overwhelming to be told your 6 yo is depressed :(
38 Responses
134578 tn?1546634665
I don't know anything about depression in young kids in general, but would encourage you not to label all possible prescriptions as "psychiatric medications" and to turn them all down.  I have heard of a very small dose of anti-anxiety medicine making a huge difference.  It has to do with improving the ability to get the benefit of the body's natural serotonin, or something like that.  Besides, there will be a give-and-take discussion throughout her treatment, and if something is doing no good, you will be able to make a decision to change it.  
202436 tn?1326477933
I'm not opposed to medication in general...I take antidepressants and DH takes antidepressants and a mood stabiliar (no wonder DD has issues...they do they say it's genetic) I'm just against using it as a first course of treatment.  I also know that these types of medications alter the chemicals in your brain and I don't feel it's good to do that unnecessarily to a brain that is still developing.  

DH and I talked about the possibility of medications and we both agree that first and foremost we are going to wait until DD has had several visits of therapy with the pscychologist and after I have quit my job and been home and had more time with her for awhile.  She seems so much happier when I am able to take time with her and go to school functions and stuff.  I just want to be sure that this isn't a case of reading more into her behavior than necessary.  Does that make sense?

Not that I don't believe the psychologist but I do know that docs can be wrong...while she may be depressed she may also just be screaming out for attention but only making some changes and time will tell us that.  Especially since there is no specific tests that can be done for depression.  I want to see if getting her to open up will improve her behavior/attitude before we even consider turning to medicine.  I've known too many parents to give meds to their kids becuase doc said it was best to start with that and it just messed the kid up more.  It happened to my brother as well.  Fortunately my mom finally put her foot down and took charge of what she felt was best and he is now a perfectly normal healthy functioning almost 39 yo warrant officer/pilot in the army.  

BTW the lable "psychiatric medications" was for lack of a better way of saying "stuff that a psychiatrist would prescribe" LOL :)
134578 tn?1546634665
Just so you don't think that someone on, say, a small dose of Zoloft is automatically a tranqued-out zombie.  LOL

I agree that with a child's brain still in development, you want to tread cautiously.  But it also can be true that a small medication dose gets such fast results and the child feels so much better that you don't want to overlook the possibility.  That's all I was trying to say.   I have a pal with a very, very depressed husband, and when I suggested antidepressants, she said, "But what if he got ***dependent*** on them?" with fear in her voice.  She was thinking of narcotics, I guess.   SSRIs are not like that, but you are smart to be sure all your questions are answered about their effects on a child's developing brain for sure.
Avatar universal
my son suffered from depression as a result of divorce.  we found a therapist that had years of experience working with kids, and after a year or a bit longer of weekly therapy, he was able to stop treatment and was doing great!  he is 11 now and has been out of therapy for maybe almost 2 yrs.  this year he started 6th grade and his teacher works the heck out of them.  i am noticing his behaviour change a bit, but i also attribute it to early puberty (already has body hair and mood swings!).  

im very fearful of putting kids on meds.  from what i have read is it can cause the situation to become worse.  if they take the meds, can they really learn the tools they need or are the medicated and not care?  do your research, i know you will and good luck!! it will be ok, its just so scary right now.
356080 tn?1227037915
My now 10 year old DD suffered with pretty severe depression at that same age.  She also had suffered from compulsive disorder (hand washing and fear of germs)  I am not a believer of mind altering med's especially in children.  We found a GREAT counselor that she saw a couple times a week for about 1 year, and now all symptoms are gone.  The counselor got to the root of the problem instead of masking it w/ meds.  We still watch her for signs of returning symtoms, but I feel she has turned that corner.  I am sure you will be able to get your DD back on track.  Stay positive and find a great counselor!
202436 tn?1326477933
AnnieBrooke:  Thank you!  I AM  open to the possibility of medication BUT only after we have tried other options.  As I said *I* am on antidepressants and i know you have to find the right "fit" the first one I was on (lexapro) pretty much made me an emotional zombie...i didn't feel much of anything...but now on Zoloft I feel it is working SOOO much better.  I believe she DOES have some depression but I want to make SURE that the majority of her behavior is not just an attention getting kind of thing, kwim?  When my mom was here visiting and she was giving abby attention and letting her help with things and doing crafts her behavior was TOTALLY different.  So I want to explore that possibility too before we delve into the realm of meds.

PertyKitty:  I agree.  I want to see how just therapy helps her to begin with.  I don't think medication shoudl be the first line of defense so to speak in children.

jewell1117:  Thanks.  It's encouraging to hear successful stories or kids getting better. I'm going to give this psychologist some time and see how he handles her and what if any progress is made...if after several visits I feel we aren't getting anywhere I will find another counselor (preferably closer...we are driving an hour each way to see him )  

I am going to make an appt with a psychiatrist and go in with an open mind but also knowing that I will NOT agree to BEGIN her treatment with medication but that I may consider it later down the road if no progress is being made otherwise.  

I have made up my mind to quit my job and become a sahm.  I hope that by me having more time to relax and get caught up on everything i need to do that I can become a calmer individual and will be able to keep a more even keel when dealing with her tantrums and rages.  I also hope that spending more time with her/giving her more of the attention she wants will help improve atleast SOME of her behaviors.  While financially it will be a bit tighter on us, we've discussed ways to cut back and lower bills etc.  We (dh and i) both agree that it will probably be better for us as a family ...less hectic/stressful/crazy.   I guess we will see.  I think I will be putting in my notice for my last day to be Nov 12th.  
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