Successful depression treatment 'rubs off on children'

Successful treatment of a parent's depression has a long-term impact on their children, new research has shown. Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study found that offspring whose mothers recovered from the condition showed progressive improvement in their own behaviours.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that this trend can continue for more than a year after a mum had discontinued her treatment.

Dr Madhukar Trivedi, Professor of Psychiatry at the facility, said: "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."

He added it is very rare to look after a patient and for the care to have such a significant impact on the people who are close to them.

Dr Rachel Andrew, Chartered Psychologist, said: "In child and family services, psychological formulations about a child's difficulties would almost always include carer maintenance and/or protective factors."

"This study highlights how parents' own emotional health can impact on a child - and a study showing a more systemic view of family difficulties is really helpful."

"If mothers are suffering from depression this can impact on their parenting and relationships with their partners and children, which can lead to their child becoming withdrawn or more challenging."

"It would make sense that if mothers depression is treated and their relationship with their child changes that the behaviours would then diminish."

Marjorie Wallace, Founder and Chief Executive of mental health charity SANE, recently suggested those who experience depression can emerge with a more positive outlook on life when they recover.