A new studying is showing a surge in major depression diagnoses in adolescents and millennials.
The report, based on Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America Report, found the diagnosis rate for BCBS members climbed 63 percent among adolescents, 47 percent for millenials and 33 percent overall between 2013 and 2016.
However, experts say part of the rise in depression diagnoses is because it is becoming less stigmatized to get health. However, for younger people, one doctor suggested that sleep, electronics and social media and come into play.
“It is possible that the increased rates of depression in adolescents are related to a combination of increased electronics use and sleep disruptions in already vulnerable individuals,” said Dr. Karyn Horowitz, a psychiatrist affiliated with Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island. “Increased use of electronics, video games more commonly in boys and social media/texting more commonly in girls, can lead to increased conflict both within the home and with peers.”
Dr. Ash Nadakarni, a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women's Hospital said that having higher rates of depression isn't all negative.
"It's certainly possibly that people are seeking help but it's also the case that our understanding of depression and ways to survey it are also improving," she said.
Women are diagnosed with major depression at twice the rate as men, 6 to 3 percent. It also differs region to region, with 5.5 percent of Massachusetts having been diagnosed with major depression and Rhode Island at 6.4 percent. Hawaii had the lowest rate, at 2.4 percent.
"Sunlight certainly has an impact on depression, and so it could be the case that in Hawaii where people are exposed to more sunlight- the weather is better, people feel a lot less depressed," said Nadakarni.
In the end, Nadakarni said education is key to helping more people get treatment.
Boston 25 is a proud media partner for this weekend's walk for mental health. Join us at 9 a.m. at Artesani Park off Soldier's Field Road in Boston. The walk is put on by National Alliance for Mental Health.
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