Depression Relapse Rate Doubled for Teen Girls

Adolescents who successfully recovered from depression may still require additional treatment, especially young girls. John Curry, PhD from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center and his colleagues studied the long-term recovery of adolescents who received treatment in a previous study. According to the results, young girls were almost twice as likely to experience recurring episodes of depression than young boys.

The participants were selected from a previous study, the Treatment of Adolescents with Depression Study, which compared the recovery rates of children placed on different types of treatments.  The participants were randomly assigned to the following treatments: fluoxetine (Prozac), cognitive behavioral therapy, combination of fluoxetine and therapy or placebo. The combination of medication and therapy was predicted to have the highest response rate.

The results concluded that the recovery rate was not connected to treatment. The combination of fluoxetine and cognitive behavioral therapy was not proven to be the most successful. The study also found that females had a higher recurrence rate than males. In total, 47 percent of the participants relapsed, but 57 percent of girls experienced recurrence compared to 33 percent of boys. Along with treatment response, gender was the only factor that significantly influenced recurrence rate.

The results of this study indicate the necessity of further research in adolescent depression. Variation in treatment response suggests manipulating treatment according to behavioral, and possibly genetic, characteristics of patients could lead to sustained recovery. Also, understanding the environmental and social differences between male and female adolescents could identify factors that cause higher depression rates among females. A previous study reported that girls had lower self-esteem, poorer body image, and higher self-consciousness than boys, making them more susceptible to depression.

Treating adolescent depression is vital in the prevention of adulthood depression and the onset of other mental disorders. Contact your doctor for more information on symptoms and treatment.

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