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First-Onset Depression More Common in Girls

July 26th, 2017

Adolescent depression—characterized by low mood, inability to enjoy normally pleasurable activities, insomnia, irritability, weight changes, and feelings of guilt or worthlessness—is more common than previously thought, and more likely to develop in girls than boys. According to new research, the proportion of adolescents who experience depression is higher than previous studies have reported—36 percent for girls and 14 percent for boys. These depressive episodes are associated with problems with school, relationships, and suicide attempts, even in cases where depression started recently.

“Our study reveals that depression is far too common and is associated with serious problems in school and at home for adolescents,” said senior author of the study, Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. “While we still have much work to do to understand why so many more girls experience depression than boys, adults who work with young people—especially clinicians, school teachers, and counselors—should recognize adolescent depression and connect young people who display signs of depression to appropriate mental health services. Don’t wait and expect things to get better without help.”

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