Therapy for Pediatric Clients with Mood Disorders
An African American Child Suffering From Depression.


The client is an 8-year-old African American male who arrives at the ER with his mother. He is exhibiting signs of depression.

  • A client complained of feeling “sad”
  • Mother reports that teacher said child is withdrawn from peers in class
  • Mother notes decreased appetite and occasional periods of irritation
  • Client reached all developmental landmarks at appropriate ages
  • Physical exam unremarkable
  • Laboratory studies WNL
  • Child referred to psychiatry for evaluation


Alert & oriented X 3, speech clear, coherent, goal-directed, spontaneous. The self-reported mood is “sad”. Affect somewhat blunted, but child smiled appropriately at various points throughout the clinical interview. He denies visual or auditory hallucinations. No delusional or paranoid thought processes noted. Judgment and insight appear to be age-appropriate. He is not endorsing active suicidal ideation but does admit that he often thinks about himself being dead and what it would be like to be dead.

You administer the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, obtaining a score of 30 (indicating significant depression)

Decision Point One

Begin Wellbutrin 75 mg orally BID


  • Client returns to clinic in four weeks
  • Child is unable to fall asleep at night

Decision Point Two

Change to Lexapro 10 mg orally daily


  • Client returns to clinic in four weeks
  • Child is tolerating Lexapro, and is sleeping at night. There is a 40% reduction in symptoms

Decision Point Three

Continue current dose

At this point, there is no indicating that you should change back to Wellbutrin as the child is tolerating the current medication without mention of side effects. Also, the child is experiencing a reduction in symptoms. You could also increase the dose to 15 mg orally daily, but the child has only been taking the drug for 4 weeks at this point. It may be more prudent to give the current therapy an additional 4 weeks before making any decisions to change current dose.

APA citation 4 to 5 references within 5 years.