Adolescent Depression: Identification and Treatment

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Adolescent depression is a prevalent condition that has been on the rise in recent years. The primary care setting is often the front line to mental health needs, specifically identifying and treating early depression. This review presents the current evidence base about adolescent depression, its identification, and treatment approaches. The US Preventive Services Task Force and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend universal screening for depression in adolescents in primary care settings. There are several depression screening measures that could be useful in primary care. Recommended treatment approaches which include therapy, medication, or a combination of the two are based on an adolescent’s presentation and degree of impairment. There is sufficient empirical evidence supporting use of three therapies and two Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for adolescent depression. Currently, there are resources, screening measures, and research evidence available to adequately support pediatricians in the identification and treatment of adolescent depression.


Boyd RC, Lewis J, Borreggine K, Benton TD