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Major Depressive Disorder can strike at almost any age and it is particularly disturbing for parents to watch their children struggle with these issues. Symptoms of depression for youth include those of general depression but also may take other forms. Signs of depression in teens and adolescents may appear in the form of acting out, sulking, being easily discouraged or even overly worried about the mortality of important adults in their lives. As children grow and change quickly, it can be hard to recognize that the young person may need help. Depression in children is often seen as a “stage.” Depression in teens is often confused with teen angst or part of the normal maturing process. As all youth have up and down periods depression in teens can be hard to recognize.

A May 2017 Washington Post article, “More Than a Third of Teenage Girls Experience Depression, New Study Says” highlighted a recent study and its alarming statistics regarding the state of children’s mental health in the United States. The research found that depression in many children appeared to start as early as age 11 and showed that by age 17, 13.6 percent of boys and a staggering 36.1 percent of girls have been or are depressed.

There are several factors that can lead to adolescent depression including changing body chemistry and social or emotional immaturity. Family dynamics can also play a large role. Conflict with parents, conflicts between parents, divorce, child abuse and a family history of depression all can lead to depression. Environmental stressors, like pressure from school and other social stresses, or a single traumatic event can cause depression as well. Adolescent girls are twice as likely to experience depression as are adolescent boys. However, adolescent boys are more likely to commit suicide. Like mental health struggles in other periods of life, youth depression is often coupled with other disorders including anxiety disorder, ADHD, eating disorders and others.

TMS has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression in patients who are 18 years old and older. In addition, there are numerous ongoing clinical studies on using TMS as a treatment option for adolescents which should help establish TMS as an approved treatment for children with depression. To learn more about the clinical trials, see clinicaltrials.gov. To learn more about TMS and its applicability to adolescent depression, see our News section.

If you or a young person you know is struggling with depression, you are not alone and there are options to help.

In this article, they detail not only how the youth studied benefited from TMS with a significant reduction in depression symptoms but also the improvement in memory and other cognitive functions. To read the findings in Frontiers in Psychiatry click here.

In this article, Medscape details how TMS relieves symptoms of depression in Teens. Click here to read more.

Johns Hopkins Medicine details how TMS is being used as a current approach to combating depression and their study in young people with entrenched depression. To read more click here.

The National Institute of Mental Health has many resources on depression in general and includes a section on depression in children and other youth. To read more about adolescent depression click here.

The New York Times Health Guide features adolescent depression in a comprehensive overview. To learn more click here.

Helpguide.org a non-profit for mental health includes a parent’s guide to teen depression. To understand more about teen depression click here.