Diagnosis and Use of Psychotherapy Among Children and Adolescents Prescribed Antipsychotics

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the diagnoses, demographics, and prevalence of psychotherapy use among children and adolescents prescribed antipsychotics by psychiatric providers in a community setting.

Methods:

Medical records from 1127 children aged 0 to 17 years who were prescribed antipsychotics in 2014-2015 at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services (PRCMHS) outpatient network were analyzed. Antipsychotics, diagnosis codes, demographics, and number of psychotherapy sessions during this time frame were analyzed using χ2 and logistic regression analyses.

Results:

During this year, 50.8% of the patients attended psychotherapy, and 35.6% attended 5 or more sessions of psychotherapy. The most prevalent primary diagnosis was bipolar disorder (37.1%), followed by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (19.7%). Females being treated with antipsychotics were significantly more likely to attend psychotherapy than their male peers (55.7% vs. 47.9%, P=0.01). In the fully adjusted models, patients with diagnoses of bipolar disorder or disorders first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence were less than half as likely to attend psychotherapy as patients with depressive disorders, with adjusted odds ratios of 0.41 and 0.42, respectively.

Conclusions:

Approximately half of the child and adolescent patients prescribed antipsychotics in this community sample did not attend psychotherapy, and 39% of the patients did not have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder, or autistic disorder.

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