Start Screening Teens at Risk for Depression, Pediatrician Academy Sugggests

Start screening teens at risk for depression, according to pediatrician academy. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its guidelines for teenagers’ depression screening.

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The AAP says that all pediatricians and other primary care providers should screen all children for depression annually from age 10 to 21 to treat the disorder more aggressively. The data indicate that pediatricians fail to diagnose and treat 2 out of 3 teens with depression.

According to Harold S. Koplewicz M.D., and child psychiatrist, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and President of the Child Mind Institute, many teens starts to show early symptoms of the depression at this age so initiation of earlier screening is a better way to keep with the guidelines.

This is the first time in a decade the pediatrician academy has updated its guidelines for the screening the depression among teens.

“Early intervention can alter the trajectory for an illness. If it’s not picked up for a long time, it can build, it can cause negative pathways to be build that continue into adulthood. What we have here is a unique opportunity to intervene,” says Dr. Emily Harris, a pediatrician-psychiatrist for children and teens at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Performing annual screening at a stage when possible symptoms or behavior may appear will help reduce depression risk during these essential years of brain development, so start screening teens at risk for depression. Experts suggest the solution can be started by watching significant changes in teen behavior and starting a conversation with them.