Depression has become a big issue among the adolescent world these days. It is something that is overlooked much of the time, and is often even hidden by other things.
The suicide rate for teenagers has increased more than 200% over the last decade. Recent studies have shown that more than 20% of adolescents in the general population have emotional problems and 30% of adolescents attending psychiatric sessions suffer from depression. Maurice Blackman MB, FRCPC says that, The majority of teenage depressions can be managed successfully by the primary care physician with support from the family.
Teens with psychiatric illness are 20 times more likely to die from accidents or suicide than adults
Is depression in adolescents a significant problem?
As in the afore stated paragraph a baffling 20% of adolescents in the general population have emotional problems! Despite this, depression in this age group is greatly under diagnosed, leading to serious difficulties in treatment of this issue.
Adolescence is a time of emotional turmoil, mood instability, gloominess, great drama and heightened sensitivity. Possible suicidal thoughts can emerge from this troubled mind.
Adolescent depression may present itself primarily as a behavior or conduct disorder, substance or alcohol abuse or as family turmoil and rebellion with no obvious symptoms normally associated with depression.
Significant acute crisis in the teenager’s life may also involve depression. Significant stresses include divorce, parent or family quarreling, physical or sexual abuse and alcohol or substance abuse. The teenager who exhibits signs of depression may be going through these tough situations.
Teenagers can be oppositional and negative when depressed. If the teenager is an active participant in the treatment process than the physician will be able to identify the problem or problems to the patient and the parent, to offer hope and reassurance, outline treatment options and arrive at a mutually agreed-upon treatment plan. When depressed the teenager may not wish to participate actively in the treatment program, but without that treatment is pointless and ineffective.
There are two main types of treatment: psychotherapy and medication. Sessions of
family therapy may be required to deal with specific problems or issues. Other disorders may also be treated during this process; such as obsessive compulsive disorder, learning disability or attention deficit disorder.
For the more serious and persistent depressions, particularly those with suicidal consequences at stake, medication is much more effective and actually necessary to maintain the proper chemical balance in the body.
SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) re well tolerated by teenagers because of their fairly rapid action and low tendency to cause side effects. Most teenagers can easily handle the few side effects that may be experienced. Dosages can be managed successfully by the primary care physician with the support of the family.
Adolescent depression is a problem among the youth of today, but fortunately we have the ability to control this problem thanks to the hard work and discoveries of the psychologists of the past and present.