Depression and your teenager

With the holidays upon us, it's important to remember that it isn't always fun, family and food. If you have kiddos, especially teenagers, this time of year can be tough. Knowing the signs of depression is vital for a parent of a teenager.

Some facts:

Between 10-15% of teenagers have some symptoms of depression at any one time.

Less than 1/3 of teens with depression seek help, even though 80% of teen depression could be successfully treated.

8.3% of teens suffer from depression episodes lasting at least a year at a time. 

Most teens with depression will suffer from more than one episode. 20-40% will have more than one episode within two years, and 70% will have more than one episode before adulthood.

Between 20-50% of teens who suffer from depression have a family member with depression or other mental disorders.

Two thirds of teens with major depression also suffer from another mental disorder.


The following are common misconceptions about depression and teenagers:

It's not very common. About 20 percent of teens will experience teen depression before they reach adulthood.

Depression is a personal weakness or depression is caused by inconsistent parenting. A parent may think that their teen will "just snap out of it." Teens typically don't.

When depression is coupled with feelings of hopelessness, a teenager may be at greater risk of suicide and other high risk behavior(s).

Symptoms occur overnight. Symptoms usually develop over time. An untreated episode typically lasts 4-8 months.

Men and women are equally affected. Women are at higher risk, nearly twice as likely to develop a depressive episode than men.


For more information on teenagers and depression, visit

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Operation Parent: Providing ongoing education, support and hope to those raising teens and preteens in today's culture.

related topics: parenting, depression, tips, health

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