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Education And Debate

a controversy too far?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 09 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1397
  1. Paul Wilkinson (, research psychiatrist1
  1. 1 Section of Developmental Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 2AH

The use of antidepressants in depressed children (here referring to both children and adolescents) is controversial. Timimi takes this issue further by questioning the validity of the diagnosis of depression in childhood.1 Here the author is out of step with what is known.

Epidemiological studies using reliable psychiatric methods have established beyond doubt that the full range of depressive symptoms are present in representative samples of children. It is true that there is a spectrum of depressive disorders, with an arbitrary cut-off point of five symptoms for the diagnosis of unipolar major depression in DSM-IV and …

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