Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Depression and Suicidality

By Stanard, Rebecca Powell | Journal of Mental Health Counseling, July 2000 | Go to article overview

Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Depression and Suicidality


Stanard, Rebecca Powell, Journal of Mental Health Counseling


Diagnosis of depression in adolescents can be difficult due to problems differentiating between the normal, transient difficulties and developmental issues that occur in this age group and depressive symptoms. However accurate and timely diagnosis is critical because of the far reaching effects of depressive disorder on the functioning and adjustment of the adolescent. Depressive disorders may lead to serious consequences, including increased risk for illness, interpersonal and psychosocial difficulties, substance abuse, and suicide. This article reviews the adolescent depression and suicide research literature and discusses risk factors, unique symptom presentation, and effective treatment strategies. It also examines gender differences in the expression of symptoms and recommends gender-specific assessment and treatment strategies.

The accurate and early diagnosis and treatment of depression in adolescents is essential. The incidence of depression among youth age 9-17 has been estimated at 5% and only a minority are treated (Shaffer et al., 1996). Studies suggest that the 1-year prevalence in adolescents is as high as 8.3% (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services [HHS], 1999). Depression persists, or only partially remits, in more than half of them (Oldehinkel, Wittchen, & Schuster, 1999).

Depression in adolescents may lead to serious consequences including suicidal behaviors. The Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2000) reports that from 1980 to 1997, the rate of suicide among 15- to 19-year-old adolescents increased by 11% and among those aged 10 to 14 by 109%. Suicide is responsible for more deaths in youths age 15 to 19 than any disease. In 1996, suicide was the third leading cause of death (behind unintentional injury and homicide) in 15 to 24 year olds and the fourth leading cause of death in 10 to 14 year olds. There are gender and racial differences in the suicide rates. Boys are four times more likely to complete suicide than girls while girls are twice as likely to attempt suicide (HHS, 1999). The risk for suicide is highest among young white males, but suicide rates have increased most rapidly for young black males (CDC, 2000). Hispanic high school students are more likely than any other student to attempt suicide (HHS, 1999). The highest rate of completed suicide in the United States is among Native American male adolescents and young adults (HHS, 1999).

The presence of adolescent depression predicts continued risk for recurrences and persistence of depressive episodes, negative consequences, and suicidal risk into adulthood (Rao et al., 1995; Weissman et al., 1999). Successful treatment in adolescence is crucial, because adults with psychiatric illnesses are 20 times more likely to die from accidents or suicide than those without a mental disorder (Murphy, Monson, & Olivier, 1987). Depressed adolescents are more likely to experience stressful life events as young adults (Lewinsohn & Clarke, 1999). They are at higher risk for developing substance abuse and becoming an unwed parent. They are also less likely to complete college and earn as much money as those who were not depressed as adolescents (Lewinsohn & Clarke, 1999). These negative consequences during adolescence and young adulthood make early recognition and treatment essential.

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

The diagnosis of a major depressive episode in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (4th ed.), (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) requires the presence of five or more of the following symptoms for a period of 2 weeks: (a) depressed mood, (b) loss of interest or pleasure, (c) significant weight or appetite change, (d) insomnia or hypersomnia, (e) psychomotor agitation or retardation, (f) fatigue/loss of energy, (g) feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt, (h) diminished ability to think or concentrate, and/or (i) recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation/plan/attempts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Depression and Suicidality
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.