Minimal Empirical Support for Antidepressant Treatment in Young People


Researchers from Australia reviewed the existing literature for good-quality evidence of effective prevention and treatment of depression in young people. Prevention research was dominated by CBT, and treatment by CBT and SSRI trials. There was minimal empirical support for antidepressant treatment in young people. There were few trials of other psychological interventions or complementary/alternative treatments, and a particular lack of research on relapse prevention or treatment for persistent depression. Results appear in Depression Research and Treatment.

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Related Article:
No Difference in Symptom Severity 10 Years After Early Intervention for Psychosis

From the article: This framework for early intervention relies on the effective implementation of evidence-based practice. However, evidence-based interventions are far from universally delivered, with research indicating, for example, that antidepressant medications with minimal empirical support are prescribed to young people in high numbers [24, 25]. Having access to, and being familiar with, the best available evidence is a critical step in improving the uptake of evidence-based practice.


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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].