“We do know that all people handle stressors differently; those with depression are less able to manage stressors and go into a sense of being overwhelmed. This constant state of being overwhelmed then can lead to a decreased sense of self-worth and self-acceptance.”
“As our sense of self-worth decreases, we tend to pick on ourselves even more, compounding existing unhealthy messages that we have about ourselves,” he added. “This then can lead to isolative behavior or a lack of motivation, which then can lead to worsen depression.”
Biological makeup can also leave some teens predisposed to depression.
“There is also a biochemical nature to depression, where our brain chemistry ... becomes unbalanced,” Coffey said. “When our brain chemistry is geared to depression and our behaviors then support depression, we become more and more depressed.”
David Reiss, a psychiatrist and a previous interim medical director at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital, said in an email that the results of the study are not really new, the statistics are just updated.
“Adolescence is a time of physiological and psychological growth, change and ‘stress.’” Reiss said. “Thus, any underlying vulnerabilities, psychological and/or biochemical, are going to be ‘tested’ and often ‘triggered’ during these years. Actually, the fact that many psychiatric disorders (depression, schizophrenia) first manifest during adolescence has long been a known and accepted fact.”
However, the study could help more people take depression at a young age seriously.
“The study could be used in a positive manner to remind people not to ignore depression at any point in life, especially adolescence, and to seek appropriate evaluation and intervention,” Reiss said.
Coffey said that unfortunately people are not as open to the idea of teens having mental health issues, and teens suffer because of this.
“Many times ... when children or teens are reporting signs and symptoms of depression, it is misconstrued as just teen angst or a teenager experiencing puberty,” Coffey said. “There is still a stigma attached to mental health issues.