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 Date December 29, 2005
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9 Percent of Adolescents Experienced a Major Depressive Episode in the Past Year, Survey Finds

 

 

About 2.2 million adolescents ages 12 to 17 (9 percent) experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. These adolescents were more than twice as likely to have used illicit drugs in the past month than their peers who had not experienced a major depressive episode (21.2 percent compared with 9.6 percent). These findings were released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from continued analysis of the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The survey includes questions to assess lifetime and past year major depressive episodes. A major depressive episode is defined using the diagnostic criteria in the 4 th edition of the Diagnosticand Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). These criteria specify a period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.

“These new data serve as a wake-up call to parents. Mental health is a critical part of the overall health and wellbeing of their children,” said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie. “If parents have concerns about their child’s behavior or emotions, they should discuss their concerns with their doctors, teachers, counselors, social workers, spiritual advisors, friends, or relatives who know about child development and mental health. Ask for help in finding out what the problem is and where to get services. Unfortunately , less than half of these children received any help for their depression.”

In the survey, treatment for depression is defined as seeing or talking to a medical doctor or other health professional or taking prescription medication for depression.

The report, “Depression Among Adolescents”, found that older teens are more likely than younger teens to experience a major depressive episode in the past year. An estimated 12.3 percent of adolescents ages 16 or 17 suffered a major depressive episode in the past year compared to 9 percent of those ages 14 or 15 and 5.4 percent of those ages 12 or 13.

An estimated 21.2 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 who suffered a major depressive episode in the past year reported past month illicit drug use compared to 9.6 percent of those who did not. Similarly, 28.4 percent of those teens suffering a major depressive episode in the past year reported past month alcohol use, compared to 16.5 percent of teens who did not report a major depressive episode in the past year. Almost one quarter (22.8 percent) of adolescents ages 12 to 17 who experienced a major depressive episode in the past year used cigarettes in the past month compared to 10.7 percent without a major depressive episode.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is an annual survey of close to 70,000 people ages 12 and older. The survey collects information from residents of households, residents of non-institutionalized group quarters and civilians living on military bases.

The report is available on the web at www.oas.samhsa.gov. For more information on child and adolescent mental health go to http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/child/childhealth.asp.

 

 
 

SAMHSA, is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation’s substance abuse prevention, addictions, treatment, and mental health services delivery system.

 
 


 



SAMHSA is An Agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Service