Monday, June 21, 2010

Sue Scheff: Summer Depression and Teens - Waves of Depression

The sun is shining, the beach goers are splashing and the kids are smiling.  Why are some people and teens struggling with 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.

  • About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood.
  • Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of teens show symptoms of depression at any given 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.
  • 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, a type 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.
  • 30 percent of teens suffering from depression will also develop one or more problems with substance abuse.
  • Less than 33 percent of teens suffering from depression successfully seek and receive help for their disorder.
Sources: National Institutes of Health and Sue Scheff Teen Depression Website

If you feel your teen is struggling with depression, be sure to reach out and try to get them to talk about it.  Local therapy is always a good place to start.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier and safer teens.

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