Feature Article

Managing adolescent depression

Valsamma Eapen, Tania Trapolini
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Adolescent depression is a major, pervasive and increasing problem with significant comorbidity. Treatment can be divided into acute, continuation and maintenance therapy and each of these stages should include psychoeducation.

Key Points

  • Depression is a relatively common disorder affecting up to 8% of adolescents, but the diagnosis can often be missed.
  • Common comorbid conditions include anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder and substance abuse disorder.
  • Risk of harm assessment should be a priority as experience of clinical depression contributes substantially to the risk of complete and attempted suicide.
  • Psychotherapeutic intervention and antidepressant medication are indicated based on the severity of symptoms.
  • Prevention strategies should include efforts to increase awareness as well as screening and early identification of depression in the community.