Screening Teens for Depression..Not Necessarily in the Best Interest of American Teens
Posted Jun 15 2009 6:27pm
As evidenced by an article published this month in Pediatrics, there is a strong push by the US Government’s Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to encourage doctors to routinely screen ALL American teens for depression using subjective mental health screening questionnaires. Unfortunately, this can very quickly lead to over-prescription of addictive psychotropic medications, some of which have been proven to increase risk of teenage suicide. What is most interesting is that the screening methods that the USPSTF is recommending were at one time discouraged by the same task force, which discerned that there is no evidence that screening for suicide risk actually reduces suicide attempts or death.
Teens will typically be prescribed SSRI antidepressants unnecessarily as a consequence of widespread screening. SSRI antidepressant medications have been shown to be no more or only slightly more effective then placebo. Additionally, these antidepressants carry the FDA’s strongest “Black Box” warning for increased risk of suicide among teens and young adults.
These medications are highly profitable in the US, bringing in approximately $286 Billion in ‘07.
You can treat depression naturally. It is absolutely worth the time, money and energy to go that route first, before considering an antidepressant. I see the most success in my practice when we use a variety of laboratory tests (e.g. blood amino acid & nutrient levels, Organic Acids, Food Allergy panels, as well as hormones) coupled with individualized treatment protocols aimed to work with the body’s unique and natural tendency to come to a state of balance, rather then forcing it to produce a single neurotransmitter, like serotonin, at the expense of overall health and well being.
It is time to re-focus our attention on doing what is in the best interest of the people (in this case US teens) and the planet.