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Teenage Depression Statistics Some alarming statistics on teenage and adolescent depression. Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States among teens and adults, and can have a serious impact on the lives of the many teens who suffer from depression. Statistics show that teen depression is a common problem: • About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood. • Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of teen depression at any one time. • About 5 percent of teens are suffering from major depression at any one time • As many as 8.3 percent of teens suffer from depression for at least a year at a time, compared to about 5.3 percent of the general population. • Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode. 20 to 40 percent will have more than one episode within two years, and 70 percent will have more than one episode before adulthood. Episodes of teen depression generally last about 8 months. • Dysthymia, types of mild, long-lasting depression, affects about 2 percent of teens, and about the same percentage of teens develop bipolar disorder in their late teenage years. 15 percent of teens with depression eventually develop bipolar disorder. • A small percent of teens also suffer from seasonal depression, usually during the winter months in higher latitudes. Teen depression can affect a teen regardless of gender, social background, income level, race, or school or other achievements, though teenage girls report suffering from depression more often than teenage boys. Teenage boys are less likely to seek help or recognize that they suffer from depression, probably due to different social expectations for boys and girls - girls are encouraged to express their feelings while boys are not. Teenage girls’ somewhat stronger dependence on social ties, however, can increase the chances of teen depression being triggered by social factors, such as loss of friends. Other risk factors that increase the chances of an episode of teen depression include: • Previous episodes of depression • Experiencing trauma, abuse, or a long-term illness or disability • A family history of depression; between 20 to 50 percent of teens who suffer from depression have a family member with depression or other mental disorders • Other untreated problems; about two thirds of teens with major depression also suffer from another mental disorder, such as dysthymia, addiction to drugs or alcohol, anxiety, or antisocial behaviors A teen suffering from depression is also at higher risk for other problems: • 30 percent of teens with depression also develop a substance abuse problem. • Teenagers with depression are likely to have a smaller social circle and take advantage of fewer opportunities for education or careers. • Depressed teens are more likely to have trouble at school and in jobs, and to struggle with relationships. • Teens with untreated depression are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, leading to higher rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. • Teens with depression seem to catch physical illnesses more often than other teens. • Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, the third leading cause of death among teenagers. 90 percent of suicide victims suffer from a mental illness, and suffering from depression can make a teenager as much as 12 times more likely to attempt suicide. Less than 33 percent of teens with depression get help, yet 80 percent of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek help from a doctor or therapist, and many local health clinics offer free or discounted treatment for teens with depression. Teenage Depression Statistics Sources: • Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General [online] from the Nemours Foundation, “Understanding Depression” [online] • Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA, A Family Guide, Keeping Youth Mentally Healthy and Drug Free, “Depression Hurts” [online] • U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, "Depression signs in Teenagers” [online] • Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, “Depression and Suicide in children and adolescents” [online] • Depression in Childhood and Adolescence [online] WebMD/The Cleveland Clinic “Seasonal Depression” [online Causes of Teen Depression Depression can be a transient response to many situations and stresses. In adolescents, depressed mood is common because of the normal maturation process, the stress associated with it, the influence of sex hormones, and independence conflicts with parents. It may also be a reaction to a disturbing event, such as the death of a friend or relative, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or failure at school. Adolescents, who have low self-esteem, are highly self-critical, and who feel little sense of control over negative events are particularly at risk to become depressed when they experience stressful events. True depression in teens is often difficult to diagnose because both up and down moods mark normal adolescent behavior, with alternating periods of feeling 'the world is a great place' and 'life sucks'. These moods may alternate over a period of hours or days. Persistent depressed mood, faltering school performance, failing relations with family and friends, substance abuse, and other negative behaviors may indicate a serious depressive episode. These symptoms may be easy to recognize, but depression in adolescents often manifests very differently than these classic symptoms. Excessive sleeping, change in eating habits, even criminal behavior (like shoplifting) may be signs of depression. Another common symptom of adolescent depression is an obsession with death, which may take the form either of suicidal thoughts or of fears about death and dying. Long-term depressive illness usually has its onset in the teen or young adult years -- about 15% to 20% of American teens have experienced a serious episode of depression, which is similar to the proportion of adults suffering from depression. Adolescent girls are twice as likely as boys to experience depression. Risk factors include stressful life events, particularly loss of a parent to death or divorce; child abuse; unstable care giving, poor social skills; chronic illness; and family history of depression. Source : National Institutes of Health Depression Warning Signs Adolescence is an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life. Depression is very common in teenagers. Get the warning signs today. Stress from the pressure to have good grades, be a star athlete, or from peers can result in adolescent or teenage depression. If your teen experiences some of the following warning signs - please see a therapist in your area. We also provide information on residential treatment centers that have on site therapist to deal with teen depression. Recognizing Adolescent / Teenage Depression: These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks: Poor performance in school Withdrawal from friends and activities Sadness and hopelessness Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation Anger and rage Overreaction to criticism Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals Poor self-esteem or guilt Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness Restlessness and agitation Changes in eating or sleeping patterns Substance abuse Problems with authority Suicidal thoughts or actions Teen Suicide Statistics Some eye opening information on teen suicide statistics, suicide prevention, and warning signs to help avoid teenage and adolescent suicide attempts. Teen suicide is a major cause of death among teens, though many do not recognize suicide as a serious threat to a teenager’s well being. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and teenagers. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), about 8 out of every 100,000 teenagers committed suicide in 2000. For every teen suicide death, experts estimate there are 10 other teen suicide attempts. In a survey of high school students, the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center found that almost 1 in 5 teens had thought about suicide, about 1 in 6 teens had made plans for suicide, and more than 1 in 12 teens had attempted suicide in the last year. As many as 8 out of 10 teens who commit suicide try to ask for help in some way before committing suicide, such as by seeing a doctor shortly before the suicide attempt. Teen girls and boys are both at risk for suicide. Teen girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but teenage boys are four to five times more likely to die by suicide. Guns inflict over half of teen suicide deaths. Several factors increase the risk that a teenager will attempt suicide: • Depression or feelings of loneliness or helplessness • Alcohol or drug addiction • A family history of abuse, suicide, or violence • Previous suicide attempts; almost half of teens who commit suicide had attempted suicide previously. • A recent loss such as a death, break-up, or parents’ divorce Illness or disability • Stress over school, relationships, performance expectations, etc. • Fear of ridicule for getting help for problems • Being bullied or being a bully • Exposure to other teens committing suicide, such as at school or in the media • Access to firearms or other lethal objects • A belief that suicide is noble 90 percent of people who attempt or commit suicide suffer from a mental illness, such as: • Depression, which causes a teen to feel sad, lonely, withdrawn, and unable to accomplish simple tasks. • Bipolar disorder, where a teen alternates between periods of depression and mania, characterized by exuberance, insomnia, irritability, and inability to concentrate. • Schizophrenia, a complicated condition where a teen has hallucinations or distorted perceptions of reality. • Alcoholism or drug addiction, especially when combined with another mental health disorder; 20 to 50 percent of suicide attempts are related to drug or alcohol use. Resources: If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, call 911 or take the person to the emergency room immediately. Call a suicide prevention hotline, such as 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433), or check your local phone book for suicide prevention hotlines or mental health centers to help someone who is thinking about suicide. Teen Suicide Statistics Sources: • National Institute of Mental Health, "In Harm’s Way: Suicide in America" [online] • National Institute of Mental Health, "What to do When a Friend is Depressed" [online] • National Institute of Mental Health, "Schizophrenia" [online] • Center for Disease Control, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, "Suicide: Fact Sheet" [online] •, "Suicide" National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center [online] • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education [online] National Mental Health Association, "Fact Sheet: Suicide" [online] • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Depression, Particularly In Combination with Substance Abuse, Significant Risk Factor for Suicide" [online]


   Evidence is mounting, states a review, those lifelong stress-related conditions such as depression and chronic pain may be linked to fetal growth and timing of delivery.

“During the past decade, a considerable body of evidence has emerged showing that circumstances during the fetal period may have lifelong programming effects on different body functions with a considerable impact on disease susceptibility,” says review author Eero Kajantie. “In particular, evidence is starting to show that gestation period and birth weight may be related to the function of a specific metabolic pathway that controls cortisol levels.” According to Kajantie, babies born prematurely and/or underweight are more likely to suffer from either an overproduction, or an underproduction, of cortisol. Cortisol levels are linked to a wide variety of chronic conditions; too little cortisol is linked to chronic pain and fatigue, while too much is linked to heart disease and most forms of depression. Kajantie recognizes that the effects of fetal environment on stress-related adult disease could have a fundamental impact on our understanding of these disorders and their prevention. While considerable research is required before more conclusions can be drawn, there is great potential for early disease diagnosis and prevention through the study of fetal development.

Alcohol, Drugs and Depression A lot of depressed people, especially teenagers, also have problems with alcohol or other drugs. (Alcohol is a drug, too.) Sometimes the depression comes first and people try drugs as a way to escape it. (In the long run, drugs or alcohol just make things worse.) Other times, the alcohol or other drug use comes first, and depression is caused by: • The drug itself, or • Withdrawal from it, or • The problems that substance abuse causes. And sometimes you can't tell which came first... the important point is that when you have both of these problems, the sooner you get treatment, the better. Either problems can make the other worse and lead to bigger trouble, like addiction or flunking school. You have to be honest about both problems-- first with yourself and then with someone who can help you get into treatment... it's the only way to really get better and stay better. REMEMBER: YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF, OR A FAMILY MEMBER, OR A FRIEND FIND TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION. DO IT NOW! Myths about depression Myths often prevent people from doing the right thing. Some common myths about depression: • MYTH: It's normal for teenagers to be moody; Teens don't suffer from "real" depression. FACT: Depression is more than just being moody. And it can affect people at any age, including teenagers. • MYTH: Telling an adult that a friend might be depressed is betraying a trust. If someone wants help, he or she will get it. FACT: Depression, which saps energy and self-esteem, interferes with a person's ability or wish to get help. It is an act of true friendship to share your concerns with an adult who can help. No matter what you "promised" to keep secret, your friend's life is more important than a promise. • MYTH: Talking about depression only makes it worse. FACT: Talking about your feelings to someone who can help, like a psychologist, is the first step towards beating depression. Talking to a close friend can also provide you with the support and encouragement you need to talk to your parents or school counselor about getting evaluated for depression