Preschool Depression May Look Different

ST. LOUIS, May 21 (UPI) — Treating depression in preschoolers may be beneficial, U.S. researchers said.

Psychiatrist Joan Luby of Washington University in St. Louis suggests preschool depression may be an early manifestation of the same chronic disorder recognized later and raises the possibility early identification may lead to more effective interventions.


Luby’s article, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, warns symptoms of depression in preschool-age children do not always resemble those in older children or adults and often may be ignored.

Depressed preschool children may have periods of normal functioning and not appear obviously sad, but psychiatric interviews reveal typical symptoms of depression — including appearing less joyful, being prone to guilt and changes in sleep patterns.

Luby reports a treatment based on Parent Child Interaction Therapy that can produce early changes in a child’s emotional development is currently being tested as a treatment for depression in preschoolers.

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