Assessing and Treating Pediatric Clients With Mood Disorders

When pediatric clients present with mood disorders, the process of assessing, diagnosing, and treating them can be quite complex. Children not only present with different signs and symptoms than adult clients with the same disorders, but they also metabolize medications much differently. As a result, you must exercise caution when prescribing psychotropic medications to these clients. consider how you might assess and treat pediatric clients presenting with mood disorders.

Assignment is based on interactive client case studies. For this assignment, you will be required to make decisions about how to assess and treat clients.

Examine Case Study: 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.

·  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·  Mother reports that teacher said child is withdrawn from peers in class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

·  Client seen by Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner


Alert & oriented X 3, speech clear, coherent, goal directed, spontaneous. 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.

The PMHNP administers the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, obtaining a score of 30 (indicating significant depression)

Decision Point One

Select what the PMHNP should do:

Begin Zoloft 25mg daily

Begin Paxil 10mg daily

Begin Wellbutrin 75mg orally daily

Decision point Two

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