Adolescence is a confusing time. Young adults must adjust to their emerging sexuality, physical and hormonal changes, and new social pressures. Although some moodiness in teenagers is normal, these emotions may give way to teen depression. According to the common myth, teens are just moody. Unfortunately, statistics show that depression occurs in teens and children, just as much as in adults.
According to TeenDepression.org, 10 to 15 percent of adolescents are depressed. As many as 20 percent of teenagers will have at least one bout of teen depression before they reach adulthood. About 5 percent of this age group experiences major depression.
Teen depression tends to last longer than in adult years: 8 percent of teens suffer from symptoms for a year or more at a time, versus 5 percent of adults, as reported by TeenDepression.org. The National Institute of Mental Health states that female adolescents are twice as likely to be depressed as males.
Teen Depression Symptoms
Common teen depression symptoms include:
- Anger, rage and/or overreacting to criticism
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Expression of negative thoughts
- Inability to concentrate or forgetfulness
- Lack of energy, enthusiasm or motivation
- Misunderstood feelings
- Restlessness or agitation
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Trouble at school, or skipping school
- Withdrawal from friends and activities.
If any of these signs last for more than two weeks, caregivers should seek teen depression help.
Statistics show that depressed teenagers are more likely to exhibit:
- Disruptive behavior
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Eating disorders.
Teen Depression Help
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the most effective teen depression help combines medication and psychotherapy. All antidepressants have some side effects, so your doctor may have you try a few.
Since 2007, the FDA requires that all antidepressants carry a “black box warning,” stating that the medication increases the risk of child, adult and teen suicidal thoughts, up to the age of 24. When taking these medications, teen suicide actions are 2 percent higher than those taking placebos.
However, this shouldn’t deter adolescents from seeking necessary teen depression help. Studies have shown the effectiveness of many non-medication options, such as TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and electroconvulsive therapy. Even in the most severe cases, teen depression help is available.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens. The National Institute of Mental Health reports eight out of every 100,000 adolescents die from teen suicide annually, with more than half gun-related. One in 12 teens has attempted suicide in the past year, and almost one in five has considered it.
You can prevent teen suicide. Teen statistics show that 80 percent of adolescents talk about their suicidal thoughts or intentions or seek teen depression help before taking action.
Someone at risk of teen suicide shouldn’t be left alone. Teen depression help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8225 (1-800-799-4889 for the hearing-impaired).
Childhood Depression.us Staff. (2008). Child depression statistics. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from the Childhood Depression.us website: www.childhooddepression.us/articles6.html.
MedlinePlus Staff. (2010). Adolescent depression. Retrieved May 10, 2010, from the MedlinePlus website: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001518.htm.
National Institute of Mental Health Staff. (2009). How do children and adolescents experience depression? Retrieved May 9, 2010, from the National Institute of Mental Health website: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml#pub12.
Teen Depression Staff. (2005). Teen suicide statistics. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from the Teen Depression website: www.teendepression.org/articles1.html.
Teen Depression Staff. (2005). Teenage depression statistics. Retrieved May 9, 2010, from the Teen Depression website: www.teendepression.org/articles5.html.