Adult & Teen Depression

Depression is a serious condition.

According to findings by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), it is estimated that 16.2 million adults in the United States – or 6.7% of all U.S. adults — had at least one major depressive episode in 2106.

Major depressive episodes are characterized by a compilation of factors such as a loss of interest in activities as well as a disturbance to appetite, poor sleep, chronic fatigue, and irritability. These symptoms contribute to the individual’s inability to function in social, academic, or occupational settings and create a sense of heavy sadness, constant malaise, and down or blue feelings on a daily basis.

What are the most common symptoms?

While symptoms can vary across age and gender, prolonged feelings of sadness, anxiety, loss of appetite, irritability, inadequacy, a loss of interest in activities, and hopelessness are quite common.

What about depression in teens?

Unfortunately, adolescent depression is on the rise.

Statistics from The State of Mental Health In America report by Mental Health America find the rates of youth with severe depression have increased from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015.

The report also finds that even with severe depression, 76% of youth are left with no or insufficient treatment.

And much like depression in adults, teens also wrestle with feelings of profound unhappiness, lack of interest in school and poor academic performance, withdrawal from friends or social activities, overreactions to criticism, agitation and irritability, a sense of impending doom or despair, chronic fatigue, inability to experience pleasure, problems with authority, and in extreme cases suicidal thoughts or actions.

At what age is depression more common?

In adolescents and children, the onset of depression is different between males and females.

  • With males, the onset is common during grade school years (9-12 yrs).
  • With females, it more commonly sets in during the teenage years (13-19 yrs).

Beyond adolescence, it’s largely dependent on a family history, situational factors, or pervasive anxiety.

How is depression diagnosed?

Depression can be diagnosed by most health professionals licensed in the mental health or medical field. If an individual suspects that they suffer from depression, clinical interviews, questionnaires, collateral information, and other measures are used in diagnosing clinical depression.

What is most efficacious treatment?

Research supports that talk therapy, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), is efficacious. In more severe cases, combination therapy of medication and talk therapy has been found to be the most efficacious therapeutic intervention for clinical depression.


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