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Mood Brain & Development Unit

Mood Brain & Development Unit - Clinical Work

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Pharmacological Treatment

a therapist and patient are seated at a table, talking 

The MBDU Treatment Program consists of evidence-based psychological, behavioral, and pharmacological treatments of Major Depression and comorbid disorders. We work closely with study participants and their families to address the complex needs of children and adolescents in our studies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is provided by Dr. DeLonga.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for adolescent depression is an evidence-based psychotherapy intervention premised on the understanding that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. In CBT sessions, together with your clinician, you will discuss ways to try new behaviors and challenge negative thoughts as a means for improving your mood. We may discuss self-monitoring of your mood and activities, paying attention to stressors and triggers, and developing new problem-solving skills to build resilience against negative life events. Our work together may also include relaxation training and practice exercises to decrease worries and anxiety. We will talk about ways to get maximum benefit from the treatment through between-session homework and opportunities to practice. Additionally, your parent or caregiver may meet with your clinician to learn ways to best support you and assist you with practicing new skills. For more information on psychotherapy, please visit NIMH’s Psychotherapies webpage.

Pharmacological Treatment

Medication treatment for inpatients is tailored to the patient. Most patients who are admitted have already received medication treatments, often a complicated combination of medications, that have not worked as well as they or their treaters would like. The support of inpatient care allows the Treatment Team to review the overall treatment and make gradual, considered medication reductions, even to the point of stopping medicines that have been minimally or completely ineffective, and, if indicated, starting a different medication in a gradual way. The Treatment Team prefers to make decisions about medication changes in partnership with the family, the patient and the patient’s local healthcare provider so that the patient’s care can continue smoothly once they leave NIH and return home.

Inpatient Unit

We offer inpatient treatment at the NIH Clinical Center. This is a 6-bed unit dedicated to treating young people, aged 11-17, who have who have Major Depression. The treatment approach is a multidisciplinary one that relies on individual, group, and family work. Treatment emphasizes psychological treatment but also uses pharmacological interventions when needed. In addition to close nursing care support and regular contact with medical providers, patients also are aided by the NIH School, Clinical Center Recreation Therapy Department, and Speech and Language Pathology Department at the NIH.