Biggest increase in diagnoses seen in teens
So what is possibly behind the data?
“Many people are worried about how busy they are,” said Dr. Laurel Williams, chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital.
“There’s a lack of community. There’s the amount of time that we spend in front of screens and not in front of other people. If you don’t have a community to reach out to, then your hopelessness doesn’t have any place to go.”
Kids and young adults, especially, feel rushed and pressured, Williams said.
While social media can connect people who might otherwise feel isolated, it can also help pile on the pressure, she said.
“I wouldn’t say that social media is responsible for a rise in depression — more the being rushed and lack of connections that we have in the structure of how we live lives now,” she added.
But Dr. Karyn Horowitz of Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island thinks social media may be a big factor.
“For some kids, video game use can become an addiction leading to social isolation, poor school performance, and impaired sleep,” she said.
“It is possible that the increased rates of depression in adolescents is related to a combination of increased electronics use and sleep disruptions in already vulnerable individuals,” she added.
What is depression?:
Depression “may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors,” the CDC says.
Risk factors include:
Experiencing traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, or financial problems
Going through a major life change‚ even if it was planned
Having a medical problem, such as cancer, stroke, or chronic pain
Taking certain medications
Using alcohol or drugs
Having blood relatives who have had depression