The comprehensive psychiatric diagnostic evaluation is the single most useful tool currently available to diagnose depressive disorders. Evaluation frequently requires separate and/or conjoint initial interviews with the patient, parents, or caregivers. Multiple interviews are usually required, as are contacts with collateral informants (eg, teachers, primary care physicians, social services professionals). Children and adolescents with depressive disorders are at high risk for suicidal behavior, substance abuse, physical illness, early pregnancy, and poor work, academic, and psychosocial functioning. Physical examination and laboratory tests, as indicated, should be part of the evaluation. Several self- and clinician-administered rating scales (eg, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Child Depression Inventory) can help ascertain depressive symptoms. However, because of low specificity, these scales are not useful for diagnosing clinical depression.
- Comprehensive psychiatric evaluation.
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