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JLeslie's avatar

Do you think part of the rise in children developing depression is it is getting diagnosed more?

Asked by JLeslie (65071points) May 11th, 2023 from iPhone

I’m not saying depression isn’t actually on the rise, but I’m questioning how much. I feel like childhood and teenage depression was often overlooked in previous generations. Do you think that’s true?

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23 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

Possibly. It is also possible that society is entirely F-ing up kids. We have destroyed the nuclear family for the most part, we are indoctrinating kids at school for all sorts of things, we are telling them they are not supposed to be comfortable with who they are…that they have to want to be a different gender or sexual orientation, we are telling them that women are strong and men are weak and if men aren’t weak it is because they are toxic. We are showing them that if they go nuts and riot and destroy they will be viewed as heroes of the cause and if they shoot up a school they will be memorialized forever.

This issue may be just like so many others: we look at a symptom and not a cause.

Forever_Free's avatar

While awareness is one factor, I think it is more related to the 24 hour pressures that kids go through today with social media.

ragingloli's avatar

Maybe it is because they get slaughtered on a strict schedule, while those in power do nothing to stop it, and worse, mock them by wanting to make the weapon they get slain with primarily, the country’s “national rifle”? Oh, and the world at large is going down the shitter, too.

cookieman's avatar

I think improved abilities to more accurately diagnose any number of mental and physical illnesses plays a role in their rise in numbers.

KNOWITALL's avatar

We have suicides here daily now. Hanging, overdoses, etc… I think it’s residual from Covid and economic/social hardships.

janbb's avatar

No, I don’t. think the rise is due to more diagnosis. As a parent of now adult children, it was always very clear to me when my children were depressed and I think most parents I know recognized it back then.

chyna's avatar

Kids are more isolated now. If a child isn’t into sports, they are pretty much staying home and playing computer games. They aren’t interacting with other kids in what should be play time after school.
They have too much pressure from “influencers “ telling them they need to put makeup on a certain way or wear certain clothes. They have bullying going on throughout the internet and the bullies aren’t punished for their actions.
You have kids killing other kids just because. This behavior has to be taking a toll on our youth.
I’m glad I don’t live in the youth world of today.

Blackberry's avatar

Definitely. We’re just now recently diagnosing many things.
We apparently didn’t know what PTSD was during the World Wars for example.
I guess our knowledge just expanded due to society being less secretive.
Kids were still dealing with poverty and abuse everywhere before we were even born.

JLeslie's avatar

I just found this graph regarding teen suicides

I think gauging depression is harder. We aren’t always aware a child is depressed.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna You touched on something I told a lot of my friends when they had teen children. They all hoped their kids wouldn’t get into drinking and drugs, and I warned them that if drinking is common among their friends, the loneliness avoiding those situations can be life threatening too. All of my closest friends drank and went to parties in high school, it didn’t occur to them what it’s like to be the kid staying home to avoid the peer pressure or unsafe situations. I was that kid. You talked about sports, but it’s anything that puts a kid on the outside.

Acrylic's avatar

Or possibly a loosened or broadened or expanded definition of what depression is. We all go through bouts of the blues as teens, that’s in the job description, but is that necessary treatable conditions or just a bunch of shrinks looking to make megabucks from normalcy?

janbb's avatar

@Acrylic The rise in reported teen suicides would seem to dispute the idea that this is just a made up story so that shrinks could “make megabucks from normalcy”!

And to clarify my previous answer, I don’t mean to say that there isn’t a rise in childhood depression for many of the reasons that @chyna lists. “Active shooter drills” alone must cause anxiety in children. I just think that parents of children with severe depression were usually aware of it but I may not be right on that.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb You might be interested in my link about teen suicides.

@Acrylic I actually think it’s good that more awareness and treatment is available. Therapy really helped me as a teenager. I was lucky to have a very good therapist. Working helped me tremendously also.

janbb's avatar

^^ I just looked and it’s interesting but not really relevant to today since it stops in 2015.

I agree with you that the availability of good therapy is a big plus in combatting depression. I also had a good therapist when I was depressed as a teen; my mother had suggested it.

jca2's avatar

I think it’s due to a multitude of things so yes, I think you’re correct that part of it is that it’s getting diagnosed more. There is less of a stigma now for mental illness. There’s more awareness. There’s the rise and influence of social media which makes kids hyper aware of how they look compared to celebrities. There’s less going outside and hanging out, and more being on the internet, gaming, being holed up with the computer. It’s also somewhat trendy among teens to say they have anxiety. Many of my daughter’s friends will say they “have anxiety.”

There was a great documentary that I mention here often, which talks about social media and the influence it has, called “The Social Dilemma.” Also another documentary about Tik Tok called “Tik Tok Boom” which discusses how Tik Tok influences kids in a negative way.

kritiper's avatar

No, not specifically.

rebbel's avatar

Maybe the fact they are growing up in America (no offence)?
Or, in a broader light, in today’s world.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Also I have noticed that children with depressed untreated parents are raising kids that have more emotional problems.

Unfortunately eith inflation, and the continued lack of care for the underpriveleged, I see no end on sight.

You guys know I don’t have kids but the teenagers in my area are very honest with me. Last week I intervened in a family situation with a teen where the step dad was being emotionally abusive. So since he laughed it off I called his ex-wife to fill her in. We have to stay engaged imo.

JLeslie's avatar

Just that the topic is being used in politics is a problem. Have to question how the statistics are being manipulated and presented.

@KNOWITALL That’s great that they trust you and open up to you.

flutherother's avatar

Do they still have children in America? I though they went straight to small adults.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flutherother No, many in the southern areas are very protective and try hard to keep kids young and innocent as possible.
That’s why politics relating to CRT and some LGBTQ issues are contentious in the midwest and deep south. They don’t believe those are age-appropriate issues.

Kropotkin's avatar

Childhood depression was definitely overlooked in previous generations.

There’s pretty much no data from the 21st century. Almost everything on the topic only goes back ~20 years. That suggests no one gave a fuck.

There’s been a trend in improved diagnostics and more serious research on childhood depression in recent years, which can explain some of the rising rates of childhood depression (they’re not just in the US).

But there might also be a real rise in depression. The pandemic affected everyone, so that’s an obvious causal factor for some of the years. There’s also social media and the rise of “influencers” and all sorts of things that can affect self-esteem and create unrealistic expectations.

We can be sure that it has nothing to do with children being told they’re a different gender in schools, or any other evidence-free right-wing bugbears.

smudges's avatar

The graph shows quite a gap in suicidal deaths between males and females – that’s attributable to males having more success than females.

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