Depression in Adolescents

Depression in adolescents is a significant concern for the US healthcare system. According to Mousavi, Shojaee, Shahidi, Cui, and Kutcher (2019), the condition is characterized by increased irritability, depressed mood, loss of interest and appetite, sense of hopelessness, and psychomotor retardation. Adolescents with low self-esteem, a history of substance abuse, other mental conditions have an increased risk of developing depression (Zuckerbrot et al., 2018).

However, depression is a preventable condition, and it can be addressed using screening tools. Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale can be used for early diagnosis of the condition in adolescents (Mousavi et al., 2019). PHQ-9 depression test questionnaire for primary care workers can also be used to screen for depression in adolescents; however, it is more applicable to adults (IsHak et al., 2017).

Depression can be treated with counseling, using cognitive-behavioral therapy, or interpersonal psychotherapy (Moreland & Bonin, 2019). At the same time, severe cases of depression may be treated with anti-depressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Moreland & Bonin, 2019). In older patients, however, pharmacological therapy may be associated with more risks due to polypharmacy, and counseling is preferable (Kok & Reynolds, 2017).


IsHak, W. W., Collison, K., Danovitch, I., Shek, L., Kharazi, P., Kim, T.,… & Nuckols, T. (2017). Screening for depression in hospitalized medical patients. Journal of hospital medicine, 12(2), 118-125.

Kok, R. M., & Reynolds, C. F. (2017). Management of depression in older adults: a review. Jama, 317(20), 2114-2122.

Moreland, C. S., & Bonin, L. (2019). Patient education: Depression treatment options for children and adolescents. Web.

Mousavi, A., Shojaee, M., Shahidi, M., Cui, Y., & Kutcher, S. (2019). Measurement invariance and psychometric analysis of Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale across gender and marital status. Journal of affective disorders, 253, 394-401.

Zuckerbrot, R. A., Cheung, A., Jensen, P. S., Stein, R. E., Laraque, D., & Glad-PC Steering Group. (2018). Guidelines for adolescent depression in primary care (GLAD-PC): Part I. Practice preparation, identification, assessment, and initial management. Pediatrics, 141(3), e20174081.