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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

More Effective Treatments Urgently Needed For Adolescent Depression

March 7, 2012

More than 2 million teenagers suffer from depression in the U.S. Recent drug warnings and study results have led to increased controversy surrounding the treatment of adolescent depression. A state-of-the-art issue reporting on the latest research findings on antidepressant medications combined with appropriate therapeutic strategies has been published by Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The special issue on psychopharmacology of adolescent depression is available free on the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology website.

“There are no radically new treatments on the horizon for the treatment of depression, and so we have to do better with the treatments we have available,” says Graham J. Emslie, MD, Guest Editor of the issue and Director of Child Psychiatry at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. “Few youths with depression receive adequate treatment.”

The issue focuses on the controversy, the data, and the challenges and opportunities in the care of adolescents with major depressive illness. The articles cover a wide range of issues that all contribute to the goal of improving outcomes. Included in the issue, Greg Clarke, PhD et al., Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (Portland, OR), present an evaluation of new and refill antidepressant prescribing practices among physicians before and after warnings related to teen suicide risk were issued. Kenneth Wells, MD, MPH and colleagues from University of California, Los Angeles, and Stony Brook University (NY), explore the effectiveness of appropriate care delivered in a primary care setting. Dr. Emslie and colleagues from UT Southwestern Medical Center examine the common problem of insomnia in youths with depression and its impact on treatment.

“Depression is a major public health concern among young people, particularly teens, but many people have a hard time talking about it,” says Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, and President, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY. “Advancing research is one way we can work to change a culture of denial that too often stands in the way of effective and sometimes life-saving treatment.”

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