(NaturalNews) Will screening for psychiatric illness soon join vaccines as an expected part of childhood?
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF) recently updated its recommendations on the screening of children and adolescents for major depressive disorder (MDD), in an article in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The task force now recommends that all children aged 12 and up be screened for MDD as part of their regular doctor visits.
"The USPSTF recommends screening for major depressive disorder (MDD) in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years," the task force said. "Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up."
The recommendation is not binding, nor does it constitute official government policy. However, it may show the shape of things to come. Should this recommendation be widely adopted, it will almost certainly lead to a surge in antidepressant use among children.
The USPSTF reviews scientific evidence about the benefits and harms of various preventive medical measures in people who have not been diagnosed with a particular illness. In this case, the task force reviewed evidence on screening children aged 7 and up for MDD. It did not find sufficient evidence to support screening children younger than 12, mostly because few studies have been conducted on this population.