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Most Teens with Mental Problems Not Taking Medication

Most teenagers who have been identified as having a mental health disorder are not taking medications for the condition, a new study from the National Institutes of Health has found. The news will be a relief to those who fear that American teens are abusing psychotropic drugs, but of concern to others who fear emotional problems are going untreated among teenagers.  More from Reuters:

"Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funded the study, said there was no compelling evidence for either misuse or overuse of psychotropic medications, which include stimulants for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), antidepressants and antipsychotics.

"Certain the use of psychiatric medications has been increasing in children and adolescents over the years," said Benedetto Vitiello from the NIH, who worked on the study.

"(But) most of the adolescents who met the criteria for a condition were not receiving medication, which suggests that they were being treated with something else, maybe psychotherapy, or maybe they were not even treated," he added. "This data may suggest that there may be underuse (of psychiatric medications) in some cases."

The findings, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, are based on interviews with more than 10,000 teens and their parents, most of whom had at least a high school education and were middle class or above. The interviews were conducted between 2001 and 2004."

Image: Depressed teenager, via Shutterstock