There are few treatments approved by the Federal Drug Administration for the treatment of depression in very small children. But a new therapeutic technique parents can use with their children is being studied.
Now, a novel approach called Parent Child Interaction Therapy-Emotion Development (PCIT-ED), being tested by Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Independent Investigator Grantee Joan Luby, M.D., and colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis, has shown promise in an early trial of improving mood and behavior in very young children with depression. The results of the pilot study were reported online on Oct. 31, 2011 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
PCIT-ED is a dyadic psychosocial intervention with two components. The PCIT part is aimed at strengthening the parent-child relationship by teaching positive play techniques and training parents in ways to handle children’s noncompliant and disruptive behavior. PCIT has previously been shown to be effective for treating disruptive disorders among preschoolers. The new ED component was designed to help parents enhance their children’s ability to recognize their own emotions as well as emotions in others and to more effectively regulate intense emotions.
[Editor’s Note.: our emphasis]
Psychotherapy and psychoeducational approaches, long-term psychopharmacology, and combination therapy all play a role in preventing recurrent mood episodes.
Psychotherapeutic and Psychoeducational Approaches Are Critical
A number of studies presented at the 4th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders in Sao Paulo, Brazil in March indicated that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and individual and group psychoeducational approaches enhance both short- and long-term outcomes for patients with bipolar illness. These studies add to an already substantial literature that shows that focused psychotherapies (such as cognitive/behavioral, interpersonal, and social rhythms therapies) and psychoeducation are superior to treatment as usual.
These therapies can provide a variety of approaches to stress management and reduction, and can enhance family and interpersonal communication. Another way these focused psychotherapeutic approaches help patients is by demonstrating the benefits of effective long-term preventive treatment and encouraging its consistent use.
Without consistent prophylactic treatment, patients are at high risk for recurrences and their subsequent psychosocial and neurobiological consequences. Greater number of prior episodes is associated with an increased risk of psychosocial dysfunction, treatment resistance, cognitive dysfunction, medical comorbidities, and even dementia in old age.
After the jump: preventive psychopharmacology and combination therapy. Read more