Why Are So Many Teens Depressed?
Experiencing a major depressive event as a teenager can increase your risk of experiencing such episodes later in life. There has been a constant rise in the percentage of teenagers experiencing depression throughout the United States.
A new report on this subject has confirmed this fact. From the year 2013 to 2014, around 1 in 9 teenagers in the US had a major depressive incident. The calculation was high in comparison to 1 in 10 teenagers for the years 2012 to 2013.
Researchers have confirmed this fact. According to psychologists, a major depressive incident involves experiencing the signs of the serious depressive disorder. This involves feelings of irritability, hopelessness and emptiness and depressed mood as well. These symptoms last for approximately two weeks and even more than that.
In this report, the researchers went through the information available from government’s National Surveys on health and the use of drugs. In these surveys, teenagers between 12 and 17 years of age were asked about their mental health and drug use.
Researchers had their focus on questions regarding the signs that the teenagers might have experienced in the past. These signs would signal that the teenager might have experienced a major depressive event.
On the whole, the national teen percentage who have had experienced major depressive incidents in 2013-14 was 11%. This had increased to what was 9.9% in 2012-2013 report, as per the researchers.
Views of Researchers and Scientists
Myrna Weissman, professor of psychiatry at the New York-based, Columbia University is apprehensive about the rates. She ponders on the point that whether the rates will be going up further. She further says that in order to figure the whole thing out, trends need to be investigated for a long time.
Nevertheless, the findings are in a complete line with the expectations of the experts. Weissman said to Live Science that depression is quite common among the teenagers. The teenagers used in the study were in the perfect age range when signs of depression are likely to emerge. Weissman further added this.
One year is not a very long time for determining the fact that the rates are genuinely rising or whether the reported increase is a blip. The assistant professor of clinical neurobiology in psychiatry, namely Ardesheer Talato confirmed this fact. Talati serves as a professor at the New York State Psychiatry Institute and Columbia University. Talati further confirmed to Live Science that there are three factors explaining this slight increase.
The Three Factors Explaining the Slight Increase in Rates
The very first factor explaining the slight increase in rates of teenagers experiencing depression in the US was increased awareness. Increased awareness in regards to mental illness could result in more teenagers visiting doctors for evaluating depression.
On the other hand, in cases of young adolescents, the parents might observe changes in the behavior of their kids. Thus, they would get them to doctors, Talati said.
Second, there is great pressure on the teenagers these days than what was the case in the past. There are different stresses like academic, family and social increasing depression in the teenagers. Talati has confirmed this fact.
Lastly, the procedure in which depression is diagnosed has completely changed with time. The entire procedure has become broader, Talati confirmed. This actually means that more and more people will be easily diagnosed.
Different Rates Existing in Different US States
The Talati’s report also broke down the rates of depressive incidents in teenagers in different US states. With the national average rate being 11%, rates, assorted from being as low as 8.7 % in Washington and as high as 14.6% in Oregon.
This was found by the researchers. Additionally, among the 10 states with the highest rates, 4 were from the west, namely Washington, Utah, Arizona and Oregon. The report evaluated this fact. Out of the 10 US states with the lowest rates, 4 were from the South.
They were Georgia, Tennessee, Washington DC and Kentucky. There were 13 states with significant increases in rates. Among the other remaining states. The percentage of teenagers with major depressive events remained the same.
Factors Contributing to the Differences in Rates in Different US States
There are different factors contributing to major differences in rates of major depressive events across states.
According to Weissman, depression tends to be more common in women than in men. Weissman also serves as the chief of the epidemiology division at the Psychiatry Institute of New York State.
So, if there are more women in a particular state, the rates would be higher for that state, she said. Another important factor influencing rates in different states is health care facilities in a particular state. The states with very few health care facilities would have higher rates of depressive episodes in teenagers.
Economic and religious status also serves as an important factor influencing the rates in different states.
Some religious groups might not take mental health care seriously, Weissman said. In states where the economy is in bad condition, rates of teenagers with depressive episodes might be higher.
This is because they are not able to get hold of jobs, Weissman said. The report generally entails teenagers, but the economic factor would entail older teens looking for work.
What to Look Out for?
It can turn out to be challenging for the parents to differentiate between moodiness and depression in teenagers. However, there are symptoms that the parents can always look out for in their teenagers.
These include complete loss of interest in different activities once enjoyed by the teen and changes in appetite and sleep. Signs like increased irritability and social isolation can also be included.