As researchers delve more and more into depression, and its impact on the sufferers’ lives, a trend is emerging: teen depression is a far bigger and more widespread problem than previously thought. Teenagers and even younger kids are experiencing the symptoms of depression in vast numbers. Educating yourself about this problem is a good first step towards identifying the onset of depression in your own teen, or knowing how to handle or treat it if it’s already taken hold. Bear in mind:
• One in five teens will experience depression at some point before reaching adulthood.
• Symptoms of depression are expressed by about 10-15 percent of teens at any given time.
• The average age for the onset of teenage depression is 14.
• Five percent of teens are currently experiencing a major depression event.
• As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer depression that lasts for a year or longer.
• Depression is more likely to recur in teenagers, with 20-40 percent of depressed teens likely to “relapse” within two years.
• Teen depression typically lasts eight months, on average.
• Two percent of teens suffer from dysthymia, a type of mild, long-lasting depression.
• Two percent of teens will develop bipolar disorder before adulthood.
• Teenage boys are far less likely to report depression or seek help, as compared with teenage girls.
• A family history of depression is a strong linking factor that can help predict which teens will get depression. Between 20 and 50 percent of depressed teens have a family history with the disorder.
• Seasonal affective disorder effects a small percentage of teens, and can cause depressed feelings during the colder months of the year.
• Trauma, abuse, disability, or long-term illness are all factors that can bring on teen depression.
• Two thirds of teens with major depression also suffer from another mental disorder, such as alcoholism, anxiety, antisocial behaviors, and dysthymia.
• Less than a third of teens with depression seek help.
• Eighty percent of depressed teens can be treated successfully.
Additionally, teens suffering from depression are at an increased risk for developing other problems:
• Thirty percent of depressed teens also develop an addiction or substance abuse problem.
• Depressed teens are less likely to pursue college or make positive career choices; they are also more likely to have a restricted social circle.
• A lifelong struggle with personal relationships, job security, or income may be foreshadowed by an adolescence full of depression.
• Self-destructive sexual behavior is more common in teens suffering from depression.
• Depressed teens are more likely to come down with physical illnesses like colds or the flu.
Depression and suicide are often connected, making it all the more imperative to intervene when you see symptoms of depression in your own teen. Statistics on suicide and depression:
• Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.
• Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers.
• Ninety percent of people who commit suicide are suffering from a mental illness.
• Suffering from depression can make a person as much as twelve times more likely to commit suicide.