At least half of U.S. children who take antidepressants aren't in therapy, a large study suggests, and that delays recovery while greatly increasing the number of kids on the medication who are suicidal.
"Therapy with antidepressants is the standard of care. But is it what's going on in the real world? No," says Sheila Marcus, child and adolescent psychiatry chief at the University of Michigan Medical School.
In the six months after getting at least one new prescription for antidepressants in 2006, just over 40% of children had insurance claims for one or more therapy sessions, says Tami Mark, the Thomson study leader.
A government study last year found that depressed kids recover most rapidly with antidepressants and counseling that teaches problem-solving and stress management.