Depression in Adolescence

Depression is a common mental disorder which is more common than we would like to believe. It is seen in adults, adolescents and children.
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The criteria for depression in adolescents are clear and similar to those in adults. A major depressive episode consists of at least five depressive symptoms that have been present for at least 2 weeks and represent a change from previous functioning. Either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure must be present.

Significant weight loss or marked change in appetite may be present. Insomnia or hyposomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt are commonly seen. Diminished ability to concentrate and recurrent thoughts of death are often associated with the above clinical picture. The symptoms must cause significant distress or functional impairment. In children or adolescents however, an irritable mood may suffice for the depressed mood criterion. Similarly change in weight may be substituted by a failure to make expected weight gains in children or adolescents.

While the criteria are straightforward, diagnosis in an adolescent patient remains fraught with difficulty. Though the teenage brain is able to cognitively internalize external stress, many of the younger depressed teens exhibit a preponderance of somatic symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches or tiredness. It is important to note that some depressed adolescents attempt to compensate for their low self-esteem by trying to please others and be accepted. Because in this effort they may excel academically and behave well, their depression may go unnoticed. Similarly they experience many developmental challenges as they strive to become autonomous and establish their own identities. In this process they depend increasingly on their peer groups. This period of biopsychosocial maturation creates the conditions for adolescents to experience a greater sense of hopelessness and despair at a time when their ability to complete suicide is greater than when they were younger. They also exhibit more anhedonia, hypersomnia, weight change and substance abuse than younger children.

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  1. Excellent article

  2. A very well written article, good to bring adolescent depression into focus.

  3. Thank you for yet another excellent article on depression. Young people especially need our help and who knows, you may even save a life with this. Blessings.

  4. Good article:)

  5. Very well expressed information.

  6. Good Info thanks ^_^

  7. i like how you have a whole series going this is great, God Bless

  8. Really great article, well researched and well written, lots of really good information we really need to pay attention to. Twp thumbs up. Good series you have going. Keep up the great work.

  9. A very serious problem indeed. Parents need to understand the seriousness of this problem and pay attention to any signs if depression in adolescence.

  10. Good job and a valuable article. Thanks, for sharing.

  11. good job brother

  12. Very well expressed information.

  13. Liked!

  14. very good thoughts in here..

  15. Great article. Depression in adolescence is certainly on the up. This century is such a stressful time to grow up in.

  16. matter of great concern

  17. Depression occurs in so many age groups.

  18. Depression in young people is very concerning. Everyone has problems and age does not matter…

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