Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a severe illness that afflicts about 16.6% of people over their lifetime. MDD is highly correlated with suicidality, and often first presents in adolescence. Unfortunately, many pediatric patients suffering from MDD go undiagnosed, and current evidence-based treatment options in the U.S. are limited to psychotherapy and two selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Molecular mechanisms have been shown to play a role in MDD pathogenesis, progression, and response to medication, yet few studies have explored the role of these pathways in pediatric MDD. In this review, we outline the gravity and importance of MDD in pediatric patients, some challenges in diagnosis and treatment, current treatments available for pediatric patients, and research to investigate differences between pediatric and adult MDD. We hope that this review will provide an outline of the current understanding and treatment of MDD in pediatric patients, and provide thoughtful insights for future work that could advance our understanding of MDD in pediatric populations, and also identify new therapeutic strategies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited