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How Is Mental Illness in Children Treated?

Mental illnesses are like many medical disorders that require ongoing treatment. Although much progress has been made in the treatment of adults with mental disorders, the treatment of children is not as well understood. Experts are still exploring which treatments work best for which conditions in children. For now, many of the treatment options used for children, including many medications, are the same as what is used to treat adults. The most common treatment options used include:

    Medication: Many mental illnesses can be effectively treated with medications. The drugs often used to treat mental disorders in children include antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants and mood stabilizing drugs.
    Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people deal with their illness, often by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their symptoms, thoughts and behaviors. Types of psychotherapy often used with children are supportive, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, group and family therapy.
    Creative therapies: Certain therapies, such as art therapy or play therapy, may be helpful, especially with young children who may have trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings.

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