UK national guidelines emphasize CBT for children and adolescents

A recent article in Current Opinion in Psychiatry summarized the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) clinical guidelines and reviews of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents with mental health problems.

NICE is the UK’s independent organization responsible for providing national guidance on the “promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.”

For the treatment of depression in children and young people, NICE guidelines recommended “that pharmacological approaches should not be the first-line approach to the treatment of depression in this age group.” It recommended instead “the initial use of psychosocial interventions, including CBT, for all severities of depression.”

Meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials suggested the importance of CBT for children and adolescents with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. More limited evidence suggested CBT’s benefit in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and others conditions.

The authors noted that CBT for these populations “should be extended by further primary and secondary research.”

Review authors: A. Munoz-Solomando, T. Kendall, C. J. Whittington