Depression in Children (cont.)

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How is depression in children diagnosed?

Many providers of health care can help make the diagnosis of clinical depression in children, including licensed mental-health therapists, pediatricians, other primary-care providers, specialists seen for a medical condition, emergency physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers. These professionals will likely conduct or refer for an extensive medical interview and physical examination as part of establishing the diagnosis. Depression is also associated with a number of other mental-health problems, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Asperger's syndrome and other autism-spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders, so the evaluator will likely screen for signs of manic depression, a history of trauma, and other mental-health symptoms. Childhood depression also may be the result of a number of medical conditions, or it can be a side effect of various medications, or exposure to drugs of abuse. For this reason, routine laboratory tests are often performed during the initial evaluation to rule out other causes of symptoms. Occasionally, an X-ray, scan, or other imaging study may be needed. As part of this examination, the sufferer may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help assess the risk of depression and suicide.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/21/2014

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