Talk therapy can be a cost-effective way to treat teens with depression who don’t take or stop using antidepressants, a new study finds.

Antidepressants are typically used to treat depression, but up to half of families with a depressed child decide against using these medications, according to the researchers. In addition, nearly half of teens who do start taking antidepressants stop taking the drugs because of side effects, cost or lack of benefit.

“Untreated or undertreated depression is a serious burden for many adolescents and their families, and the impact is often felt for many years after diagnosis,” said the study’s lead author, John Dickerson. He’s a health economist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore.

Dickerson and his colleagues examined the cost-effectiveness of talk therapy — called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — among 212 depressed teens in Oregon and Washington state.

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