A selective literature review was conducted to determine the link between mood disorders and suicide in children and adolescents. On-line searches of Medline and PubMed were performed and research articles from 1978 to 2001 were reviewed. Mood disorders are reported to be the most common psychiatric illnesses in children and adolescents who attempt or commit suicide. Reports suggest that depression co-morbid with any other psychiatric illness, externalizing disorders, or substance abuse further increases the risk for suicide completion. Mood disorders in children and adolescents are frequently underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed, and undertreated. Data suggest that very early identification combined with aggressive and sustained treatment of mood disorders in youth may actually lessen the risk for suicide. (C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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