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article imageRates of depression increase among teenage girls

By Tim Sandle     Jan 11, 2017 in Health
Depression, at least in the U.S., is increasing among teens, with the largest increase seen with teenage girls. This is based on a new assessment of medical case history over a ten year period.
The assessment has been performed by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, U.S., collating data from the period 2005 to 20014. The focus was on teenagers aged between 12 and 17. The information was drawn from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The figures indicate that, in 2005, the proportion of teenagers experiencing a major depressive episode was 8.7 percent; by 2014 this had climbed to 11.3 percent. The definition of a ‘major depression episode” was, according to Laboratory Roots: “one in which a patient experiences mental and physical symptoms of sadness, irritability or hopelessness and these symptoms persist for two weeks or more.”
Within the figures there was a clear gender divide. Here teenage girls are more likely to experience a depression episode than boys:
Teenage girls: the chance of experiencing major depression was 13.1 percent in 2004, rising to 17 percent in 2014.
Teenage boys: the chance of experiencing major depression was 4.5 percent in 2004, rising to 5.7 percent in 2014.
One possible reason for the rise, the researchers speculate, is due to the increase in the use of social media over this time period; especially the rise is ‘cyberbullying’. That abuse has been increasing on-line was reported by many of those questioned in the survey. The increased use of social media is coincidental, at the very least, with the rise in rates of depression.
Dr. Mark Olfson, from Columbia University Medical Center and a co-author of the study told CNN: "Although a recent federal task force recommended screening for depression in young people 12 to 18 years of age, screening is far from universal. 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."
The implications of the research are that greater screening is required of younger people by health agencies, together with improved education and support. The findings are published in the journal Pediatrics, with the study called “National Trends in the Prevalence and Treatment of Depression in Adolescents and Young Adults.”
More about Depression, Anxiety, Brain, Teenage girls
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