Unipolar depression in adolescence is common worldwide but often unrecognized

Unipolar depressive disorder in adolescence is common worldwide but often unrecognised. The incidence, notably in girls, rises sharply after puberty and, by the end of adolescence, the 1 year prevalence rate exceeds 4%.

The burden of depression is highest in low-income and middle-income countries. Depression is associated with morbidity, and heightens suicide risk.

The strongest risk factors for depression in adolescents are:

- family history of depression
- exposure to psychosocial stress

Factors that interact to increase risk through hormonal and perturbed neural pathways include:

- inherited risks
- developmental factors
- sex hormones
- psychosocial adversity

References:

Depression in adolescence. Prof Anita Thapar et al. The Lancet, Volume 379, Issue 9820, Pages 1056 - 1067, 17 March 2012.

Image source: OpenClipArt.org

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