Depression Screening for All Teens Worries Parents
Task force calls for adolescent testing with focus on psychotherapy instead of drugs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2009 1:24 AM CDT
Critics fear widespread screening of teens for mental health problems could result in far more prescriptions of antidepressants, possibly at the behest of drug companies.    (©Publicly Sc(?)lped)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A federal task force recommendation that all adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 be screened for depression is causing controversy among parents and pediatricians, the Washington Post reports. Critics fear the amount of antidepressant drugs prescribed to teens will rise massively, although the Preventive Services Task Force stressed that screening only makes sense when specialized care such as therapy is available, instead of a one-size-fits-all drug approach.

"We wanted to recommend against the idea that doctors would do a screen and pull out their prescription pad," said a senior member of the task force. "The recommendation says you have to do really close clinical monitoring. The best treatment is psychotherapy." The director of a national screening program—who estimates testing raises red flags for some 25% of teens—stressed that parents still need to consent for tests to be administered.