Adolescent Depression

Depression in children and adolescents often goes unrecognized and recognition is of course the most important step in obtaining treatment. Children and adolescents communicate with their behavior, not always with words, so their behavior may indicate the underlying feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anger, and a lack of enjoyment in life.

The Broken Pitcher by William Adolphe Bourguerreau, French, 1825-1905
The Broken Pitcher by William Adolphe Bourguerreau

Some behavioral indications of depression include, but are not limited to, doing poorly in school, a change in sleep or eating patterns, decreased energy for doing enjoyable things, decreased energy for interacting with others, and irritability.

Treatment for depression once recognized has improved greatly over the last few years. Generally speaking, a combination of individual therapy, family therapy and at times psychopharmacology can help children and adolescents recover from depression.

Although depression has natural cycles, and some children will recover without treatment, depression also has a high level of risk. Dangerous behaviors include suicidal behavior, drug use, and not attending to safety and physical needs. It is important that depression be diagnosed and treated in order to not interfere with the day to day functioning of the child and in order to prevent self-injury.

To assist in identifying children at risk for depression, the following resources will be helpful to parents and professionals