Depressed Teens Higher Risk of Mental Health Problems in Later Life

NEW YORK – Teenagers who suffer from minor depression are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health problems in their adult life, says a new study.

Psychiatrists at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 750 fourteen to 16-year-old teenagers and then interviewed them as adults, to come up with the findings.

Researchers found anxiety, severe depression and eating disorders were much more common in those 20 to 30-year-olds who had suffered from minor depression as adolescents, reports The BBC.

The report published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that 8 percent of participants had minor depression as teenagers.

By the age of 20 and 30, these people were four times more prone to developing major depression than those who did not face bouts of depression as teens.

According to the research, teens with minor depression had a two-and-a-half times increased risk of agoraphobia, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder and a threefold risk of anorexia or bulimia as adults.

The researchers defined minor depression as one which lasted for at least two weeks and had symptoms like feeling low, losing interest in activities, sleeping problems and poor concentration.

Study leader Dr Jeffrey Johnson said more research was needed to see if depression problems in teenagers were an early phase of major depressive disorder or if minor depression earlier in life contributed to the development of more serious problems later on.

Lucie Russell, director of campaigns at Young Minds, said: “Ensuring teachers, social workers and the rest of the children’s workforce have the appropriate skills and knowledge to identify when a child is showing signs of depression will enable young people to get help early before problems escalate to crisis point.”

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