Screening and managing depression in adolescents
Approximately 10%-15% of adolescents will experience a major depressive episode. The risk factors associated with depression in adolescence include a family history of depression, being female, subthreshold depression, having a nonaffective disorder, negative cognitions, interpersonal conflict, low social support, and stressful life events. Despite the availability of measures to identify depressed adolescents and efficacious interventions to treat these adolescents, a large number of depressed adolescents go undetected and untreated. This review describes several screening measures that can be used to identify adolescents with elevated depression symptoms who would benefit from a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. If an adolescent is diagnosed with a depressive disorder, there are several efficacious treatment options, including pharmacotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy. The research supporting each of these approaches is outlined, and recommendations are made to help health professionals determine the appropriate course of treatment. Although existing treatments are effective for many depressed adolescents, approximately one-third of adolescents remain depressed following treatment. Continuing research is needed to enhance the efficacy of existing treatments for adolescent depression and to develop and study novel treatment approaches.