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Successful depression treatment of mothers has long-term effects on offspring
Date:5/10/2011

DALLAS May 10, 2011 Children whose mothers are successfully treated for depression show progressive and marked improvement in their own behaviors even a year after their moms discontinue treatment, new UT Southwestern Medical Center-led research shows.

Additionally, the faster mothers got better, the faster their kids improved and the greater the degree of improvement experienced.

"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 Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and a co-author of the study, recently published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. "It is very rare to treat a patient and have an impact on people around the patient that is this significant.

"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' remissions, these children continued to show further improvement. This is almost unbelievable."

The study is the final in a series of analyses documenting the negative effects depressed moms have on their children. Moms and their children were followed as part of the nation's largest multisite clinical trial on treatments for depression, begun in fall 1999. UT Southwestern served as the national coordinating center for the $35 million, four-year study called STAR*D (Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression) and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

About 2.5 percent of children and up to 8.3 percent of adolescents in the U.S. suffer from depression, according to figures compiled by the NIMH. Research also indicates that depression onset occurs earlier in life today than in past decades. Depression in young people is often accompanied by physical illnesses and other mental disorders such as anxiety, disruptive b
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Contact: LaKisha Ladson
lakisha.ladson@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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