Mothers successful depression treatment helps children

Successful depression treatments of mothers help their children as well.

By Liz Lockhart

A recent study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and reported on in the Daily News & Analysis which shows that the successful treatment of depression in mothers helps their children as well. 

Although we may think that this is an obvious conclusion some of the findings are less obvious.  The research suggests that children whose mothers are successfully treated for depression show progressive and marked improvements in their own behaviour even a year after their mother discontinues treatment.

If the mothers don’t get better then these children’s problems often become worse.  ‘If you treat the mother when she is depressed and don’t even go through the process of treating the children of these mothers, they still get better as their mothers get better.’ said Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and a co-author of the study.

‘While the effect in the short term is clearly robust, the bigger issue is that this effect is long-lasting’ he said.  ‘One year after their mothers’ remission, these children continued to show further improvement.  This is almost unbelievable.’

The latest findings also showed that children’s improvement in terms of both depressive symptoms and social functioning was related to the time it took their mothers to get better.

Most parents who have mental health disorders worry about the impact this could have on their children and this research highlights how, if successfully treated, this can impact so positively on the children.

If a parent cannot find the incentive to seek help from depression for themselves then perhaps the knowledge that it can so improve the lives of their children may give them the added drive to do so.


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