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The use of cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of resistant depression in adolescents

Authors Hamill-Skoch S, Hicks P, Prieto-Hicks X

Received 20 December 2011

Accepted for publication 27 June 2012

Published 10 September 2012 Volume 2012:3 Pages 95—104

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S13781

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Sarah Hamill-Skoch,1 Paul Hicks,2 Ximena Prieto-Hicks1

1Department of Psychiatry, 2Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ, USA

Abstract: Major depressive disorder often begins in adolescence, is chronic and recurrent, and heightens an individual's risk for major depressive disorder in adulthood. Treatment-resistant depression is a problem for a significant minority of adolescents. Few studies have examined treatments for treatment-resistant depression among adolescents, and even fewer have examined the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy as a monotherapy or in combination with pharmacological treatments. Mental health professionals have a strong interest in understanding what treatments are appropriate for adolescents who are treatment resistant. Preliminary evidence from current published trials indicates that the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy in combination with antidepressant medication yields the best outcome for treatment-resistant depression in adolescents. Secondary analyses also suggest that the utility of cognitive behavioral therapy can be increased by ensuring adolescents receive a therapeutic dose of treatment sessions (more than nine sessions) and the inclusion of two treatment components: social skills and problem solving training. Guidelines for clinicians as well as areas for future research are discussed.

Keywords: cognitive behavior therapy, treatment-resistant depression, adolescent depression

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