As parents, we all know that during puberty and the teen years we need to be on the lookout for symptoms of depression. Teenagers are going through all kinds of changes and are trying to “fit in” with their peers, society, and trying to figure out where they belong in the scheme of things. The problem is that we may not be watching soon enough.
A new study on the mental health of children in the United States was recently published that is quite scary and alarming. The study showed that depression started at age eleven in many children. When the child reaches the age of seventeen, 13.6% males and 36.1% females had been depressed or are now struggling with depression.
The numbers published are quite a bit higher than any estimates to this date. Teachers, parents, and all caregivers need to understand that the risk of depression is very important during this time due to the link of severe issues with relationships, school, and of course suicide to do with depression episodes.
Researchers have discovered through various studies that depression is higher in adult women than men but now we see that it is the same with girls and boys, however at a much younger age than believed.
The study used information from interviews that comprised of 100,000 children during 2009 and 2014 that took part in the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. The data was recently published in the Journal Translational Psychiatry using the information compiled from the annual survey to represent a portion of the United States population.
The questions used in the survey were standard including such topics as irritability, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness, and feelings of guilt. Once this information was gathered, the researchers used the data to diagnose the ones that participated using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Using the survey, helped reach more children than would be possible than using data from those that are receiving treatment.
From the study, Joshua Breslau, the lead author of the study explained what the data revealed. Even at age 12, there was a significant gap between girls and boys with girls suffering from depression symptoms more than boys. Girls reached a peak at age 15 and then began to taper off but were still quite a bit higher than boys when they reached the age of 17. What this indicates is that the origins of depression begin earlier than previously believed.
It may be difficult to believe but through research, scientists have discovered that children at the young age of 4 or 5 can suffer from depression.
At this time, more research needs to be conducted to learn why some individuals can come out of depression without help and others need help. Adults need to learn the signs and symptoms of depression in order to ensure that children are receiving adequate help when they become depressed. The longer a person suffers from depression, the stronger the symptoms can become and too many times ends in suicide.
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