Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2013; 17 (11): 1546-1551

Adolescent depression: clinical features and therapeutic strategies

B. Nardi, G. Francesconi, M. Catena-Dell’Osso, C. Bellantuono

Psychiatric Unit, Section of Clinical Neuroscience, Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy.

BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common disorder during adolescence and it is associated with an increased risk of suicide, poor school performance, impaired social skills, social withdrawal and substance abuse. Further, as many depressive episode in adolescents do not reach the diagnostic threshold for MDD, the disorder remains undetected.

AIM: This review aims to provide an update of clinical features of adolescent MDD and to focus on the most appropriate therapeutic strategies to adopt in clinical practice.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We reviewed the international literature to identify studies focusing on clinical features and therapeutic options in adolescents affected by MDD. PubMed, Medline and Cochrane Library databases were searched for English language papers.

RESULTS: The clinical picture of depression is variable with sex and age. Somatic complaints, particularly headache and fatigue, are a common presentation in adolescent MDD. Irritability is present most frequently in female and it is related to the severity of MDD. Adolescent MDD is also characterized by a high rates of suicides. The therapeutic strategy in adolescent depression includes psychotropic medications, psychotherapy or a combination of both treatments, with selection of the most appropriate strategy depending on symptom severity. As first-line treatment the traditional cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), as well as the cognitive Post-Rationalist (PR) approach, are so far considered the goal standard.

CONCLUSIONS: The therapeutic approach to the adolescent affected by MMD should respect the person in his/her psycho-physical entirety. The intervention may help the subject in seeking a more stable and adaptable identity. It is relevant to have a good knowledge of the peculiar clinical picture of adolescent MDD in order to make an early identification of the disorder and to define an appropriate personalized therapeutic program.

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To cite this article

B. Nardi, G. Francesconi, M. Catena-Dell’Osso, C. Bellantuono
Adolescent depression: clinical features and therapeutic strategies

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2013
Vol. 17 - N. 11
Pages: 1546-1551