The Early Detection and Treatments of Adolescent D Essay

This essay has a total of 1144 words and 6 pages.

The Early Detection and Treatments of Adolescent Depression and Suicid

The Early Detection and Treatments of Adolescent Depression and Suicide

Only in the past two decades has depression in adolescents been taken seriously.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts. It affects the way a
person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about
things. Therefore it comes to no surprise to discover that adolescent depression is
strongly linked to teen suicide. Adolescent suicide is now responsible for more deaths in
youth's aged 15 to 19 than cardiovascular disease or cancer (Blackman, 1995). Despite this
alarming increased suicide rate, depression in this age group is greatly under diagnosed
and can lead to serious difficulties in school, work, and personal adjustment, which may
continue into adulthood. How prevalent are mood disorders and when should an adolescent
with changes in mood be considered clinically depressed? Brown (1996) has said the reason
why depression is often overlooked in adolescents is because it is a time of emotional
turmoil, mood swings, gloomy thoughts, and heightened sensitivity.


Therefore, the adolescent's first line of defense is his or hers parents. It is up to
those individuals who interact with the adolescent on a daily basis (parents, teachers,
etc.) to be sensitive to the changes in the adolescent. Unlike adult depression, symptoms
of youth depression are often masked. Instead of expressing sadness, teenagers may express
boredom and irritability, or may choose to engage in risky behaviors (Oster & Montgomery,
1996). Key indicators of adolescent depression include a drastic change in eating and
sleeping patterns, significant loss of interest in previous activity interests, constant
boredom, disruptive behavior, peer problems, increased irritability and aggression (Brown,
1996).


What causes a teen to become depressed? For many teens, symptoms of depression are
directly related to low self-esteem stemming from increased emphasis on peer popularity.
For other teens, depression arises from poor family relations, which could include
decreased family support and perceived rejection by parents. Oster and Montgomery (1996),
stated that "when parents are struggling over marital or career problems, or are ill
themselves, teens may feel the tension and try to distract their parents." This
distraction could include increased disruptive behavior, self-inflicted isolation and even
verbal threats of suicide. Many times parents are so wrapped up with their own conflicts
and busy lives that they fail to see the changes in their teens, or they simply refuse to
admit their teen has a problem. In today's society the family unit can be quite different
from the stereotypical one of the 1950's, where the father went to work and the mom was
the homemaker. Today, with single parent families and families where both parents have
corporate jobs, the teen may feel he or she is playing "second fiddle" in importance in
the lives of their parents. Also, great stress is placed upon teens today starting in
early childhood. Most enter daycare at an early age and continue into preschool. Then when
public school starts they are either in the early-morning program, after-school program or
just latch key kids. They are left to their own devices at an early age. Many go home to
an empty house with no one to talk to about their day at school. Once the parent's arrive
home it may be time for soccer practice, baseball practice, or gymnastics class. Again no
time for talking about the day's events and with everyone going in different directions a
family dinner around the kitchen table just does not happen. At one end of the spectrum,
teens maybe pushed by their parent's to excel in sports and scholastics, and at the other
end there are teens that are never given direction or aspirations by their parent's. Those
pressured to excel maybe come overwhelmed by what is expected of them and can fall into
using drugs and alcohol as a form of escape and may feel the only way out is that of
suicide. On the other hand those teens without direction and lack of interest on the part
of their parent's, may also turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of escape. They may
contemplate and even attempt suicide as a way of either drawing attention to themselves or
to just end their lives because no cares about them anyway. Dr. William Beardslee of
Boston, working with children and teens exhibiting depression and suicidal tendencies
feels these disorders are likely based on a complex interplay of biological/genetic forces
and developmental transactions between teens, family members and the outside world. Some
teens manage to survive and even flourish under the most difficult circumstances, while
others flounder under the same conditions.

An estimated 2,000 teenagers per year commit suicide in the United States, making it the
leading cause of death after accidents and homicide. Blackman (1995) stated that it is not
uncommon for young people to be preoccupied with issues of mortality and contemplate the
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