Depression Rates Among Adolescents Significantly Increasing, Studies Suggest


According to a latest research, the rate of adolescents suffering from depression has significantly increased from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014. This is particularly true for the youth aged 12 to 17, while among adults aged 18 to 25, the rate increased to 9.6 percent from 8.8 percent.

Despite the growing number of young people with depression, the proportion of the youth seeking mental health treatment remains the same. There are still many cases that remain not reported and untreated. "We already know that teens have much more depression than is currently being recognized or treated," said Dr. Anne Glowinski, a child psychiatry researcher at Washington University in St. Louis.

"What this study adds is that rates of youth depression have significantly increased in the last decade and that the proportion of recognized/treated young people appears unchanged despite efforts to encourage pediatricians to focus on suicide prevention which includes more recognition and treatment of youth depression," she wrote in an editorial supporting the study.

According to the researchers, even if the number of teens and young adults experiencing depression is increasing, many of them still don't receive the treatment. This is where the efforts of parents, the schools and colleges are most needed to be able to identify youth who need help and be able to give them the mental treatment they need.

Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, a public health researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said that it is difficult to recognize when the young people suffer from depression because most of them do not tell their parents about it.

"Parents should be alert to changes in academic or social functioning of their children and to other manifestations of depression such as social withdrawal, long periods of sadness, frequent crying spells, anger outbursts and irritability, suicidal ideations or gestures, significant changes in appetite and weight, and significant changes in energy level," Mojtabai added.

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