Should teens be screened for depression?

Depression is extremely common during adolescence, but many teens don’t display any symptoms, so their illness goes unnoticed. Sometimes, the first time that parents find out that their teens are depressed is when they need emergency care after harming themselves. For these reasons, many physicians recommend that teens be screened for depression as part of their regular preventive care checkups.

Depression symptoms in teens
Mood swings are part of life during adolescence, so parents frequently overlook the signs of depression because they assume that their teen is just being a teen. Some common symptoms of depression in teens are:

  • Prolonged periods of sadness and irritability
  • Withdrawal from normal activities
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Preoccupation with death or suicide

If you recognize these symptoms in your teen, consider making an appointment with a pediatric physician for a depression screening.

Screening basics
A depression screening consists of a conversation between your teen and their physician. The physician will ask questions about your teen’s feelings, energy levels, ability to pay attention at school, and eating habits.

The physician may ask other questions as well, depending on the answers your teen gives. During this process, it may be helpful for your teen to speak to the physician alone, so they feel comfortable giving honest answers.

Treatment Options
There are several treatments available for teens who have depression symptoms. Your teen’s physician will work with you and your teen to find a treatment plan that feels right to everyone.

Some of the treatments for depression in teens include therapy and medications, as well as testing and treatment for any underlying medical conditions that are contributing to his or symptoms.

Are you concerned about your teen’s symptoms and want to find a physician who can help? Contact Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center and request a physician referral in Las Vegas to a specialist who can help. Contact us today by calling (702) 233-5300.

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