Depression and the Young

It wasn’t too long ago that psychologists and psychiatrists believed that children did not get depressed. With increased awareness about depression, better diagnosis and the advent of a new class of antidepressants, that view has dramatically changed. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry now estimates that at least 3.4 million children younger than 18 suffer from depression. Depression is a significant risk factor for suicide. A youth at risk behavior survey, conducted by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that more than one in five students reported they had seriously considered suicide in the previous year, while 7.7 percent admitted that they had tried one or more times. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults.
Part of the reason that depression in young people has come to light is due to the increased stress of growing up in modern society. In Breaking the Patterns of Depression, psychologist Michael Yapko writes:
When I was eight years old, my biggest concern is whether I’d be the starting pitcher on my Little League baseball team. I didn’t have to choose between Mom or Dad for my primary residence. I didn’t have to set up a complex visitation schedule following their divorce, because they never divorced. No one instilled in me a fear of people who wanted to do “bad touches” to me. No one tried to scare me away from drugs, because drugs weren’t a kid’s issue. No one lectured me in fourth grade about safe sex and AIDS. No one brought guns to school and opened fire. It is a different and tougher world for today’s youth, who do face these sorts of things every day. Read more...

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