*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on PsychCentral.
A new study finds a startling rise in depression among all Americans, with youth demonstrating the most rapid increase over the last decade.
Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy found that from 2005 to 2015, depression rose significantly among Americans age 12 and older. Young people between the ages of 12 and 17 experienced a 46 percent increase in reported depression over this time span.
The findings appear online in the journal Psychological Medicine.
Researchers say this is the first study to identify trends in depression by gender, income, and education over the past decade.
“Depression appears to be increasing among Americans overall, and especially among youth,” said Renee Goodwin, Ph.D., of the Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, who led the research.
“Because depression impacts a significant percentage of the U.S. population and has serious individual and societal consequences, it is important to understand whether and how the prevalence of depression has changed over time so that trends can inform public health and outreach efforts.”
The results show that depression increased significantly among persons in the U.S. from 2005 to 2015, from 6.6 percent to 7.3 percent. Notably, the rise was most rapid among those ages 12 to 17, increasing from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 12.7 percent in 2015.
Researchers reviewed data captured from 607,520 respondents to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual U.S. study of persons ages 12 and over. The researchers examined the prevalence of past-year depression annually among respondents based on DSM-IV criteria.
The escalation of depression followed an interesting pattern. Specifically, the increase in rates of depression was most rapid among the youngest and oldest age groups, whites, the lowest income and highest income groups, and those with the highest education levels.
Experts say these results are in line with recent findings on increases in drug use, deaths due to drug overdose, and suicide.