Depression is on the rise across the United States, especially in young adults and adolescents, but experts can’t figure out why. Recent research suggests that doctors don’t talk about depression with their young patients.
It means that they also don’t attempt to treat it in any way. According to Dr. Ramin Mojtabai from the Johns Hopkins University, depression rates increased from 8.7% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2014 in teenagers and from 8.8% to 9.6% in young adults.
In the latest survey, Dr. Mojtabai’s team reviewed health records of over 170,000 adolescents and roughly 180,000 young adults between 18 and 25 years old. At the end of the survey, the researchers established that every year one in eleven young adults and teenagers suffered a significant depressive event.
Also, the rates of these events grew from 2005 to 2014. Dr. Mojtabai, who is also the lead author of the study, says that whites and particularly white girls are more prone to experience depression.
Although it is still a mystery why they are more vulnerable, the team believes that over the past few years, adolescent girls have experienced the greatest exposure to the primary factors influencing the onset of depression.
Many girls are constantly cyberbullied compared to adolescent boys. Also, boys use smartphones and other mobile devices less intensively and frequently than girls. These findings are crucial because previous studies have shown that increased smartphone use among young adults and teens has been associated with a higher risk of depression.
Despite these rates, no reports are stating that doctors are dealing with more depressed adolescents. This means that few teenagers receive proper treatment. Also, anti-depressants might not be the ideal medical approach because they might increase the risk of suicide, although a cause-and-effect link hasn’t been found yet.
There is also the possibility that young adults and adolescents don’t talk about their depressed mood. Instead, they become isolated from their families and friends. According to Dr. Giuseppe D’Amelio and Dr. Anne Glowinski from the Washington University School of Medicine, the investigation must continue. Otherwise, the depression rates will continue to increase.
They underline that suicide is the second most prevalent death cause among United States adolescents between 15 and 19 years old. These rates might increase if public health specialists don’t raise awareness about depression.
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