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Upward trend in depression among US teens and young adults

12-27 | Rachael

Upward trend in depression among US teens and young adults

Depression is a serious problem among young adults in the United States. Medically, there is no difference between teen depression and adult depression, yet, the signs and symptoms are different for the two groups, depending on various social and developmental factors.

In extreme cases of depression, adolescents often tend to commit suicide. This is alarming because suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals aged 15 years or older in the U.S. Unfortunately, depression is not a condition that one can will away. It is real and can affect various stages of an individual’s life, if not treated appropriately.

Many factors can trigger depression among adolescents, such as peer pressure, fluctuation in hormone levels, increasing concerns about their bodies and how they perceive themselves in their social settings. As per experts, adolescent girls are more susceptible to depression than male.

In 2015, approximately 3 million adolescents in the age group 12 to 17 years (12.5 percent) in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. As per a study published in Pediatrics in December 2016, 11.3 percent teen in 2014 reported major depression during the past year, an increase from 8.7 percent in 2005.

Despite the rise of depression amidst adolescents and young adults, there has not been any significant improvement in mental health treatment for depression. Given the social stigma surrounding mental health and illnesses that is prevalent in the American society, many adolescents fear reaching out for professional help and only about a third of those suffering from depression receive treatment.

Depression is a common and serious mood disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that depression is a common and serious mood disorder. It can cause severe symptoms that can change the way a person thinks, deciphers their feelings and it can affect how they handle their day-to-day activities.

According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), a major depressive episode is defined as a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.

There can be many contributing factors to depression among adolescents. Some of them are:

  • Brain chemistry: The brain of an adolescent is structurally different from that of an adult. The hormone levels of neurotransmitters in teenagers work differently when they are going through depression. This plays a huge role in regulating the moods and behavior of depressed adolescents.
  • Traumatic experiences during childhood: Loss of a parent or physical, emotional or sexual abuse as a child can leave a lasting trauma that can severely hamper a child’s coping mechanism. This can trigger or aggravate depression during teen years.
  • Gene component: Studies show that depression can also have a genetic component to it. It can be passed down the family tree, children with close family members with depression are at a greater risk of being diagnosed with depression themselves.
  • Negative outlook: For some teens, negative thinking pattern is common at home and is considered normal. Sometimes such outlooks can hamper the emotional development of the growing child, who immerse themselves in self-pity instead of rising up to the challenges that come their way.

Road to recovery

Depression can occur at any stage. Many cases of adult depression are triggered by high levels of stress and anxiety in teen years. Depression can also occur simultaneously with other chronic medical illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, etc. Even medications taken for other illnesses can cause side-effects that can lead to depression.

If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Contact the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado for more information and advice on depression treatment in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online to connect to the best depression treatment centers in Colorado.


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