Depression Rates Among Adolescent Girls Rising – new study

Depression rates seems to be increasing in recent times. It can be normal to sometimes experience signs of depression like feeling sad or lonely, especially after losing someone dear to you, during life’s struggles or when your self-esteem is injured. These feelings become an issue of concern when they begin to affect your normal life, last for very long periods of time or cause other physical symptoms.

Major depressive episodes, also known as clinical depression, occur when someone develops a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities along with other depressive symptoms consistently for at least two weeks.

Detecting Depression

The signs and symptoms of depression are based on a symptom criteria for major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. They are;

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  • Depressed mood.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities which is known as Anhedonia.
  • Significant weight or appetite disturbance.
  • Loss of energy or fatigue.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation – speeding or slowing of muscle movement.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate and make decisions.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, dying or suicide.
  • Longstanding interpersonal rejection ideation – thinking others would be better off without me.

Depression Rates Growing Among Adolescents, Particularly Girls

Researchers from new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that the rate of adolescents reporting with clinical depression has grown by 37 percent over the decade ending in 2014, with one in six girls reporting an episode in the past year. They also noted that suicide rates have been increasing in recent years, particularly among adolescent girls and young women.

The findings were based only on self-reporting, not on clinical diagnoses. The researchers controlled for substance abuse and socioeconomic factors.

Among girls, the prevalence of major depressive episodes increased from 13.1 percent in 2005 to 17.3 percent in 2014. White adolescents and young adults were also more likely than non-whites to experience these episodes.

There were few significant changes in the use of mental health treatment among those adolescents and young adults with depression. In adolescents, after 2011, there were small increases in visits to specialty mental health providers, the use of inpatient and day treatment centers and medication. These increases in depression rates, however, were not enough to keep up with the increases in those with clinical depression.

The researchers say it is unclear what is driving the rise in major depressive episodes, particularly among girls. They say adolescent girls may have been exposed to a greater degree of depression risk factors in recent years. Cyberbullying, for example, may have increased more in girls, as studies have shown that they use mobile phones more frequently and intensively than boys and problematic mobile phone use among young people has been linked to depressed mood.

The growing number of depressed adolescents and young adults who do not receive any mental health treatment calls for renewed outreach efforts, especially in school and college health centers, counseling services and pediatric practices, where many of the untreated adolescents and adults with depression may be detected and managed. Science Daily

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