Teen Depression

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Understanding Depression Slideshow

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What are warning signs for teen suicide?

About 3,000 youth die by suicide each year in the United States, making it the third leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24. Latino and African-American teenage girls are thought to attempt suicide more often than their age peers who are male or of other ethnic backgrounds. Native-American teens tend to complete suicide nearly twice as often as the national average, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens complete suicide four times more than their heterosexual age peers.

Warning signs for teen suicide can include the following:

  • A sudden change in behavior
  • Lack of motivation
  • Social withdrawal/isolation
  • A change in eating patterns
  • Preoccupation with death or dying
  • Giving away valued personal possessions
  • Symptom or signs of depression
  • Increased moodiness
  • Hopelessness

How is depression in teens diagnosed?

Many providers of health care may help make the diagnosis of clinical depression in teens, including licensed mental-health therapists, pediatricians or other primary-care providers, specialists whom you see for a medical condition, emergency physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers. One of these professionals will likely conduct or refer for an extensive medical interview and physical examination as part of establishing the diagnosis. Depression may be associated with a number of other medical conditions or can be a side effect of various medications. For this reason, routine laboratory tests are often performed during the initial evaluation to rule out other causes of symptoms. Occasionally, an X-ray, CT or MRI 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 5/11/2015

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