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Roughly one in five children will experience depression before adulthood. Children who have experienced it are at risk of developing depression again within the next five years. Teen depression symptoms can be difficult to read, partly because they can be similar to things that occur as a normal part of growing up. Risk factors include gender, environmental factors, and stressful life events. Treating teen depression may involve antidepressants and psychotherapy.

What Is Teen Depression?

Depression is more than the blues or the blahs; it is more than the normal, everyday ups and downs. When that "down" mood, along with other symptoms, lasts for more than a couple of weeks, the condition may be clinical depression (also known as major depression or just depression).
Clinical depression is a serious health problem that affects the total person. In addition to feelings, it can change behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activity, and the ability to handle everyday decisions and pressures.
Fortunately, there is treatment for teen depression, just as there is for depression in adults. Most teenagers can be helped with psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of both.

How Common Is It?

Population studies show that, at any given point in time, 10 to 15 percent of children and adolescents have some symptoms of depression. The rate of the condition among adolescents is closer to that of depression in adults, and may be as high as one in eight. About one in every five children will experience depression before adulthood.
Once a young person has had an episode of major depression, he or she is at risk of developing it again within the next five years. This young person is also at risk for other mental health problems.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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