Dubicka, B & Brent, D. Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 22(2) pp. 59-60
Over the past decade, rates of depression and of suicide in adolescents have been increasing (Collishaw, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 56, 2015, 370; Bor et al., The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48, 2014, 606). At the same time, there is some evidence that rates of diagnosis and, in the US at least, referral for depression in adolescents has been declining (Libby et al., Archives of General Psychiatry, 66, 2009, 633; John et al., Psychological Medicine, 46, 2016, 3315). These worrying statistics highlight the importance of disseminating accurate information about the risks and benefits of treatments for adolescent depression, in order to combat therapeutic nihilism.
Extant controversy about the best ways to treat adolescent depression, and in particular with regards to the use of antidepressants, may have contributed to these trends. More specifically, we believe that some recent, high profile publications have incorrectly interpreted the benefit to risk ratio for the use of antidepressants in adolescent depression as unfavourable (e.g. Cipriani et al., The Lancet, 388, 2016, 881). In this editorial, we review clinical trial and pharmaco-epidemiological data that supports the retention of the use of antidepressants in the management of depressed adolescents.
Read the editorial here