By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – As many as 1 in 5 teenagers suffers from depression but only about half of them are diagnosed before adulthood.

For the first time in 10 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its guidelines for diagnosing and treating depression in teens.

The AAP now recommends annual screening for depression in children ages 12 and older.

Many teens may not want to answer questions face to face but pediatricians can use a written or digital questionnaire to teens about their feelings. For example, have you recently been feeling down or depressed? Have you lost interest in things you once found pleasurable? Are you sleeping more or less than usual? Are you eating more or less than usual? Have you recently lost weight? Are you have more difficulties at school?

The new guidelines also call on families with a depressed teen to develop a safety plan to limit access to medication or a firearm that could be used for self-harm because a leading cause of death in kids ages 10 to 17 is suicide.


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