Pediatric clinical depression

Compassionate care for your child’s needs

Clinical depression and depression are mental illnesses. They bring extreme feelings of emptiness, sadness and worthlessness. At UW Health, our pediatric experts help you and your child cope with, manage and prevent depression.
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Types and causes

Causes of clinical depression and depression

Clinical depression and depression can affect your child’s body, mood and thoughts.

Clinical depression and depression can affect your child’s body, mood and thoughts.

Depression interferes with how your child eats, enjoys life, sleeps and works. Clinical depression is a more severe type of depression. Symptoms of all depression can last for weeks or months.

Biochemical changes in the brain cause depression. Depression can be related to:

  • Certain life events

  • Environment

  • Extreme stress

  • Extreme grief

  • Genetics

In some people, depression occurs even when life is going well.

Symptoms and diagnosis

What depression feels like

We help manage your child’s depression by making an accurate and early diagnosis.

Signs that your child may be depressed include:

  • Alcohol or drug use (children 12 or older)

  • Anger

  • Changes in appetite

  • Changes in sleep

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Fatigue

  • Feeling sad or hopeless

  • Feeling worthless

  • Inability to function at school

  • Increased sensitivity

  • Impaired thinking

  • Loss of interest in friends or usual activities

  • Persistent headache

  • Persistent stomachache

  • Social withdrawal

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

How we diagnose depression

If your child shows signs of depression, our experts perform a comprehensive exam. Depression can occur with other conditions, such as anxiety. We want to understand everything that impacts your child.

We review:

  • Family dynamics and environmental stressors

  • Family psychiatric and medical history

  • Input from teachers and other care providers

  • Your child’s age, health, and medical history

  • Your child’s current behaviors, functioning and symptoms

Treatments

Personalized care for your child

We provide treatments to improve function and reduce distress.

Our specialists create a care plan to address your child’s specific symptoms. We believe in early treatment, which shortens depressive episodes. Treatment improves your child’s function with friends and family, at home and school.

Treatment options include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Community support programs

  • Counseling

  • Family therapy

  • Hospitalization

  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

  • Medical and psychiatric follow-up and support

  • Medications

  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

We help your child avoid depression in the future and teach them how to manage episodes as they occur. Children with more severe depression or clinical depression may need ongoing treatment.

Meet our team

Specialized care from pediatric experts

The depression care team at UW Health includes pediatric experts in behavioral health, psychiatry and psychology.

Our providers

Locations

Ongoing and crisis care

We offer specialized care for children with clinical depression and depression at UW Health clinics in Madison.

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  • UW Health Behavioral Health and Recovery Clinic
    UW Health Behavioral Health and Recovery Clinic
    Behavioral Health and Recovery Clinic
    • 1102 S. Park St. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 282-8270
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  • Behavioral Health and Psychiatry Clinic
    • 2275 Deming Way, Suite 180 / Middleton, WI
    • (608) 282-8200
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  • Behavioral Health Youth and Family
    • 122 E. Olin Ave / Madison, WI
    • (608) 262-1111
    • Open now
    • We offer youth and their families a comprehensive alcohol and drug evaluation program that includes screening, assessments, intervention and referral services.

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  • East Clinic - Behavioral Health
    • 5249 E. Terrace Dr. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 504-4100
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  • Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
    • 6001 Research Park Blvd. / Madison, WI
    • (608) 232-3171
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  • Union Corners Clinic - Behavioral Pediatrics
    • 2402 Winnebago Street / Madison, WI
    • (608) 242-6845
    • Open now
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  • Yahara Clinic - Behavioral Health
    • 1050 East Broadway / Monona, WI
    • (608) 287-5757
    • Open now
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Mental and Behavioral Health

Promoting well-being, healing and recovery.

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