Depression and anxiety are often classified as very similar conditions; so much so that many anxiety disorders are treated with the same medication as that prescribed for depression. When this approach is taken with adolescents, the results can be devastating.
A new Science Daily release found that adolescent depression and anxiety disorders are two very distinct psychiatric disorders. This difference was strongly noted by Dr. William W. Hale III, a researcher of the Langeveld Institute for the Study of Education and Development in Childhood and Adolescence at Utrecht University, in a recent publication in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
This assessment is the result of research conducted by Hale and his colleagues. In a five-year, longitudinal study of secondary school adolescents, these researchers concluded that while strong relations between the disorders were apparent, they were best classified as two distinct disorders.
To conduct the study, Hale and his colleagues measured the depressive and anxiety disorder symptoms of secondary school adolescents. The apparent differences between the disorders could help to explain adverse reactions to medications.
Industry research has shown that some adolescents develop suicidal tendencies, attempts and successes when receiving certain medications for depression or anxiety disorders. When such mental illnesses are treated the exact same way, it is possible the medication helps one, but creates adverse reactions in the other.
Additional research on this topic is needed to ascertain the impact of how these disorders are treated in terms of diagnosis and treatment. These conclusions are considered to be important for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), planned for publication in 2012.