One question that often pops into my head is the quality of life now and how it compares to the past. Are we better off nowadays? We also can narrow in on groups. So, for example, are teens better off nowadays? I have a feeling most people would respond, "No, they are worse off. Things were better when I was a kid." But, is that the case?
When it comes to depression, it appears things have gotten a bit worse for teens, at least compared to the recent past. The journal Pediatrics published a study last year in which 35% more of 12-17 year-olds reported an episode of depression when 2014 rates were compared to the rates in 2005. Whereas 8.7% of the study's adolescents reported an episode in 2005, 11.3% did so in 2014. My own experiences working with teens on a daily basis supports this statistic.
If more adolescents are experiencing depressive episodes, why? We know many of the factors influencing our moods including our upbringing, social influences, genetics, and trauma such as abuse or poverty, but how do those factors exactly lead to depressive episodes? Perhaps our thinking is negatively affected by those factors and those negative thoughts lead to depressive feelings. For example, if we don't believe we can do much to improve our lots in life, it makes sense that we would feel sadder about our current states.
In my next post, I'll propose some ways for dealing with this challenge.