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Study: Depression equally common among men, women

It’s long been thought that women are more prone to depression then men. But men may be just as likely to suffer from depression, according to research that considered alternative symptoms that are not included in the standard criteria used to diagnose the condition. These symptoms, which are more often seen in men, included anger attacks, aggression, substance abuse, and risk taking.

In this study, researchers at the University of Michigan looked at data from a mental health survey that included more than 3,000 women and 2,000 men. They first used a scale designed to assess alternative male-type depression symptoms and found that 26 percent of the men and 22 percent of the women met the criteria for depression.

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When they added to the scale traditional depression symptoms — such as feelings of sadness and tiredness — the gender differences essentially disappeared: 31 percent of men and 33 percent of women met the criteria for depression.

BOTTOM LINE: Men and women may have the same rates of depression when alternative symptoms such as anger and substance abuse are used to diagnose the condition.

CAUTIONS: The study relied on self-reported surveys and individuals’ responses may not always have been accurate. The authors said more research is needed to clarify symptoms of depression in men.

WHERE TO FIND IT: JAMA Psychiatry, online Aug. 28

Parents’ goals guide ADHD treatment

Parents’ goals play a key role in determining the type of treatment their child receives for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found.

The research included 148 parents of children ages 6 to 12 who were diagnosed with ADHD within 18 months of the study and were just beginning to receive treatment. The parents were surveyed on their goals for their child, their preferences for the treatment, and their child’s behavior after six months of treatment.

Children were more likely to receive ADHD medication if the parents’ goal was academic achievement. Parents whose goal for their child was behavioral compliance or improving interpersonal relationships were more likely to have a child who underwent behavior therapy. After six months, both groups of parents felt their children had made progress toward their goals.

The findings suggest that creating distinct goals may help families and doctors choose the preferred treatment for the parent and child.

BOTTOM LINE: Parents’ goals play a key role in determining the treatment their child receives for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

CAUTIONS: The short-term study did not assess longer-term effects of treatment on the children’s condition.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Pediatrics, online Sept. 2

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