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Alternative Health Blog

Teen Depression: Story Line is Don't Give Up on Treatment

Hollywood regularly makes a movie that thrusts an adult back into teenage years, usually to re-work history and seek the always desirable happy ending. Trouble is, teen depression is a significant problem in America. Plotlines get messy in real life.

Yet a new study writes a positive script for teens treated for major depression.  It shows that a majority of teens will improve, though it might take longer than desired or anticipated or both. The findings from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center showed that about a quarter of the 439 teens in the study went into remission after three months of cognitive-behavioral thearpy, while 60 percent of the teens were markedly better by the end of nine months of cognitive therapy.

The particular good news is that even though initial improvement might take nine months, the teens held onto the better quality of life and lack of symptoms 70 percent of the time. That rate is comparable to the 67 percent sustatined success rate for teens who went into remission in the first three months.

No small thing, these rates were similar to what was accomplished with antidepressant drugs for some teens in the study, but without side effects. Some teens were treated with both drugs and cognitive therapy and did respond more quickly, on average, to treatment. But weaning off medications can be an issue for any patient, including teens and, let’s face it, their anxious parents.

Morale of the story—and doesn’t this lesson ring true in many parts of life?—don’t give up on treatment if it doesn’t change things as fast as you would like.  Plus, forget the Hollywood script. The Texas researchers found a formidable number of the teens—about three in every 10—did not respond to treatment or quickly relapsed after medications or cognitive therapy were halted.

Bob Condor blogs for Alternative Health Journal every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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Contributor Profile

Contributor Since:
August 13, 2008
Bob Condor
Along with bringing the latest news and trends about alternative health, Bob will help you get the most of your Internet health research.  Bob is the Living Well Columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.He covers health and quality of life for the Hearst-owned newspaper and writes regularly for national magazines. He is a former syn...
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