New recommendations for managing children and adolescents with depression

The Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care (GLAD-PC) now include new recommendations to aid in diagnosing and managing depression in children and adolescents.
Among the recommendations:
  • Universal depression screening is recommended annually for adolescents aged 12 and older. This recommendation is in line with that of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. There was not enough evidence to recommend one screening tool over another.
  • Initial management should include a safety plan, inclusive of limiting access to lethal medication and weapons, enlisting a third party, and establishing an emergency communication plan.
  • For mild depression, clinicians can consider active support and monitoring for 6 to 8 weeks prior to treatment.
  • For adolescents with moderate-to-severe depression or complicating factors like substance abuse, primary care clinicians should consider consulting with a mental health specialist.
  • When appropriate, clinicians should recommend psychotherapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy for adolescents and/or antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

References

Guidelines for adolescent depression in primary care (GLAD-PC): Part I. Practice preparation, identification, assessment, and initial management.

Guidelines for adolescent depression in primary care (GLAD-PC): Part II. treatment and ongoing management.

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