Depression Increasing Among US Teenagers, Especially Girls

Reuters (11/14, Rapaport) reports a recent study published online Nov. 14 in the journal Pediatrics suggests the number of US teenagers and young adults with untreated depression is increasing. The study found the prevalence of depression in youth ages 12 to 17 increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014. The prevalence of depression among adults aged 18 to 25 increased from 8.8 percent to 9.6 percent during the time span. Yet the study also found “there hasn’t been much change in the proportion of teens and young adults seeking mental health treatment.”

CNN (11/14, Howard) reports Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and a co-author of the study, said, “The new study highlights that most adolescents with depression do not receive treatment for their symptoms and underscores the need for increased attention to this condition.” Using data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, researchers “discovered that the prevalence of major depressive episodes over a 12-month period increased among girls from about 13% in 2005 to about 17% in 2014.” Comparatively, depression in boys increased from about 4 percent in 2005 to 6 percent in 2014. Cyberbullying and interpersonal stress are cited as reasons why girls are at a greater risk for depression.

HealthDay (11/14, Mozes) reports that in an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Anne Glowinski, director of child and adolescent psychiatry education and training at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, wrote, “There are many stressors which impact our youth….These stressors are not limited to social media and/or cyberbullying.” These may include economic factors, anxiety about the future, neighborhood violence, and, “yes, one of those things could be social media or even something not on the radar, like an increase in sleep deprivation related to excessive Internet use,” according to Glowinski.

Related Links:

— “Depression becoming more common among U.S. teens,”Lisa Rapaport, Reuters, November 14, 2016.

Posted in In The News.