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USPSTF recommends screening for major depressive disorder in adolescents ages 12 to 18

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for major depressive disorder (MDD) in children and adolescents, stating that adolescents ages 12 to 18 should be screened for MDD when adequate systems are in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up. The recommendation is simultaneously published in Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.

MDD is a serious form of depression. People with depression feel down and experience a lack of interest in normal activities – and with MDD, these feelings last more than 2 weeks. Depression can make it difficult for adolescents to function, relate, and develop, which can affect their performance at school or work and their interactions with family and peers. By screening for depression and identifying young people with MDD, support and treatment can be put in place to alleviate symptoms and lessen the risk of suicide. The Task Force found that adolescents ages 12 to 18 who were screened and identified in primary care as having MDD, and provided treatment, experienced improved depression symptoms and daily functioning. However, the Task Force found that there was not enough evidence to assess the benefits and harms of screening for MDD in children younger than 12.

Clinical Guidelines: Screening for Depression in Children and Adolescents: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement, Albert L. Siu, MD, MSPH, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, doi:10.7326/M15-2957, published online 9 February 2016.

Review: Screening for Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Valerie Forman-Hoffman, PhD, MPH; Emily McClure, MSPH; Joni McKeeman, PhD; Charles T. Wood, MD; Jennifer Cook Middleton, PhD; Asheley C. Skinner, PhD; Eliana M. Perrin, MD, MPH; and Meera Viswanathan, PhD, Annals of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, doi:10.7326/M15-2259, published online 9 February 2016.