People with psychiatric illnesses are twenty times more likely to die from accidents or suicide than people without psychiatric disorders (http://www.nami.org). Major depression, including bipolar affective disorder, often appears for the first time during teenage years, and early recognition of these conditions will have profound effects on later morbidity and mortality.
Is depression in adolescents a significant problem? Well, the suicide rate for adolescents has increased more than 200% over the last decade (http://www.ndmda.org). Adolescent suicide is now responsible for more deaths in youths aged fifteen to nineteen than cardiovascular disease or cancer. Recent studies have shown that greater than twenty percent of adolescents in the general population have emotional problems and one-third of adolescents attending psychiatric clinics suffer from depression. Despite this, depression in this age group is greatly under diagnosed, leading to serious difficulties in school, work, and personal adjustment, which often continue into adulthood.
Depression presents in adolescents with essentially the same symptoms as in adults; however, some clinical shrewdness may be required to translate the teenagers? symptoms into adult terms. Wearing black clothes, writing poetry with morbid themes, or listening to certain types of music may exemplify sadness. Sleep disturbance may manifest as all-night television watching, difficulty in getting up for school, or sleeping during the day. Missed classes reflect lack of... [continues]
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