Sad times for many adolescents, it appears

February 10, 2006

Nine percent of adolescents between 12 and 17 years old (a total of 2.2 million teenagers) in the US experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to an analysis by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report.

Nine percent of adolescents between 12 and 17 years old (a total of 2.2 million teenagers) in the US experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to an analysis by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report.

An estimated 21.2% of adolescents with depression reported illicit drug use, compared with 9.6% of teenagers who are not depressed. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the criteria for a major depressive episode specify a period of two weeks or more during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure and at least four other symptoms that reflect problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.

"Unfortunately, fewer than half these children received any help for their depression," said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie.