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By David Nutt, Caroline Bell, Christine Masterson, and Clare Short (Pp 110, £19.95). Published by Martin Dunitz Publishers, London, 2001. ISBN 1-85317-924-8
Anxiety disorders are among the more common psychiatric disorders of childhood, and adolescent depression is being increasingly recognised in clinical practice. In contrast with the popularity of psychotropic medication in the treatment of adults with anxiety and depressive disorders, it is comparatively rare for this to be prescribed in childhood. This is partly because of the efficacy of alternative psychotherapeutic techniques but is also determined by the paucity of supportive research for psychotropic drugs until recently.
This is now changing rapidly and evidence is emerging for the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for both anxiety and depressive disorders of childhood.
This book is timely in outlining the current state of knowledge on these disorders from a psychopharmacological perspective and in aiming to give clinicians practical advice on the use of medication in this age group. It draws on knowledge—mainly from the adult literature—on underlying neurobiological processes. It gives an overview of neurotransmitters involved, the mechanisms of action, and side effect profiles of various drugs available. The research evidence is reviewed and practical advice is given on the use of medication. Families are becoming better informed about different child psychiatric treatments and they may be expected to be offered treatment choices and their evidence base. This book will be helpful to clinicians when considering the indications and contraindications of medication as part of clinical interventions.