Depression in teens typically presents with symptoms similar to those of adults. What is considered unique to teenagers is the higher incidence of irritability in place of intense feelings of depression. Teens with depression may seem grouchy or just plain bothered by everything and everyone. Depressed teens may seek out verbal confrontation with peers, adults and siblings.
Here are some other statistics about teenage depression
- 60% of depressed teens have another condition such as anxiety, substance abuse or ADHD
- 50% of teenagers 14 and older with a mental illness dropout of high school.
Length of Illness
- Average length of a depressive episode is about 4 to 9 months
Risk Factors for depression
- Low birth weight
- Family history of depression
- Gender dysphoria
- Having another mental health disorder
- Chronic illness
- Traumatic brain injury or seizure disorder
- Family dysfunction
- Bullying or academic difficulties
- A history of abuse and or neglect
- 13% of teens have been effected by clinical depression. Incidence has been increasing steadily over the past decade.
- The incidence of depression increases with age
- Diagnosis of mental illness in general is higher in children that are below the poverty level.
- Oregon has the highest incidence of teenage depression with a rate of 14.62% and The District of Columbia has the lowest with a rate of 8.69%
- 50% of all depressive episodes start by age 14.
- Depression is 2 times more common in females
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth aged 10-24
- 90% of teens who completed suicide had a mental illness
- almost 1/5 of teenagers have thought about suicide in the past year
- About 2% of teenagers attempted suicide and received medical attention
- Youth who engage in self-harm or cutting behaviors are 25 time more likely to die from suicide in the following year.
Delay of Treatment
- 20-30% of teenagers don’t get timely care
- Lack of insurance, a shortage of treatment providers and issues with confidentially contribute to treatment delay.
The good thing is that there is great treatment for depression! Teens with depression typically benefit from therapy and may benefit from medication treatment if they have moderate to severe symptoms. Here are a few great resources and tips for getting treatment:
- If you are in a crisis, call or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to their website
- Find a child and adolescent psychiatrist here
- Search treatments and learn about mental health issues with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Take a look at information on how to talk about children and teens about depression here