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NAMI releases guide on adolescent depression

December 21, 2010
by News release
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ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has published an updated and expanded edition of What Families Need to Know about Adolescent Depression, a guide for families who want to know about accurate diagnosis and effective treatment options for teenagers experiencing depression.

According to the new edition, one size does not fit all when it comes to mental health care. Adolescents are thought to differ from adults living with depression because they more often experience symptoms of irritability, anger and self-criticism than the sadness and loss of energy commonly seen in adults.

The 36-page family guide summarizes symptoms of depression and treatment options for adolescents and provides information regarding suicide prevention, health care and therapy.

"It is important that parents and children engage in dialogue to create an open and honest environment where mental health issues are discussed and treated just like any other health risks," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Communication is imperative. The family guide will help the discussion."

The most common forms of therapy for adolescent depression are talk therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, medication or a combination of both.

First published in 2005, the updated edition relies on some of the newest studies that support methods for treating depression.

• Since 2009, physicians have been encouraged to perform general depression screenings for children aged 12-18.

• Screenings and discussions with adolescents are vital in preventing them from resorting to self-harm or suicide to achieve relief from distress that can be effectively treated.

• Not all adolescents are as likely to receive help in living with depression. Latino and African American youth are less likely to receive health care than their peers and Asian/Pacific Islander youth are unlikely to get any treatment.

The booklet is available to download from the NAMI Web site. Single and multiple copies can be ordered online from the NAMI store.

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