The Issue of Depression and Anxiety Among Adolescents in the United States


Depression and anxiety are the leading causes of disability in Americans from the ages of 14 through 19 (Iliades et al). Many adolescents experience sadness and act stressed time to time, but some adolescents experience this feeling everyday for sometimes no reason. It is important to know the difference between sadness and depression. Many adolescents get nervous before taking an exam, public speaking or walking into a room filled of people, which is completely normal. Some adolescents experience this feeling every day at almost every time.

These people may be diagnosed with depression or anxiety. There are many adolescents suffering from depression and anxiety.

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When talking about depression and anxiety, it is important to know the cause, how to detect, and treat the illnesses.

Literary Review

Depression and anxiety are becoming more common in the United States. Many people including, children, adolescents, adults and elders experience depression or anxiety. Research shows that out of all age groups, it is more likely for adolescents to have depression and anxiety than any other age group (Hsieh, et al).

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There are many theories on why this age group experiences these illnesses more often than others, but the biggest theory is the constant feeling of thinking they’re not good enough. This is common in many teenagers, as they are growing into who they are while being classified into different groups as they join high school. Many people believe what causes depression and anxiety is the constant feeling of being sad or overwhelmed. Although that can trigger these two illnesses, there are other causes of depression and anxiety. In adolescents, there are many things that can cause depression like stress, conflicts with parents, sex hormones, disturbing events, death of family or friend, breakup with boyfriend or girlfriend, failure at school, low self esteem, bullying, lack of social skills, learning disabilities, child abuse, illnesses, poor caregiving, parent divorce, anxiety, or eating disorders (Timothy Rogge, MD.). Genetics also play a role in depression and anxiety. These illnesses are often passed down throughout the family. Often times, these illnesses can be caused by neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are signals sent through a people’s brain and body, in order to operate. Sometimes, these signals may not run correctly and this may cause a person to be depressed or have anxiety.

Depression is an illness that affects your mood, and the way you interact with people. Symptoms of depression include, feeling sad, angry outbursts, change in appetite, sleeping issues, slowed thinking and moving, trouble concentrating and unexplained physical issues (National Institutes of Health). People with depression may have trouble finding joy in things that used to make them happy. Some people may feel as if life isn’t worth living. Depression can be a gateway illness, meaning, it was cause or open up to more illnesses. Depression is known to lead to anxiety disorder.

Many teenagers experience anxiety. It is apart of growing up, but some teenagers experience anxiety more and exaggerated. Teenagers with anxiety disorder will have issues participating in activities, making and keeping friends, and maintaining a healthy relationship (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). Symptoms in teenagers can include: excessive worries and fears, feeling down, nervous, restless and are always stressed about something (Renee A. Alli, MD). In many social settings, these teenagers will feel uncomfortable and uneasy. They are worried about losing control and social acceptance (MacMillan, Amanda). Not only do teenagers with anxiety disorder experience mental symptoms, they also experience physical symptoms including: stomachaches, headache, muscle tension and cramps, pain, fatigue, or discomfort. They may also blotch, sweat, hyperventilate, tremble or startle easily (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry).

“When you’re in the grip of depression and anxiety, it can feel like the misery will never end, that you’ll never recover. But people do recover. You just need to find the right treatment.” (Griffin, Morgan). When going about treatment, there are many different options, and not all are affect patients the same. These illnesses should be treated right away. It may be hard to detect these illnesses at times, but it is important to remember the symptoms and look out for people because this illness may lead to an attempted suicide by the person suffering. Research shows that suicide is the third leading death in adolescents (Reiss, et al). Statistics show that more female teenagers have attempted or considered suicide than males. The rate was highest among Hispanic females, and lowest among white males (Reiss, et al). Many adolescents may agree with one of my friends that I interviewed that, “It is the only way out.” However, this is not at all true. There are many treatment options such as, psychotherapy, medication, support groups, therapists, and something as simple as daily exercise (Lawson, et al). Exercising can release good-feeling brain chemicals, reduce the immune system, and increase body temperature. There are also psychological effects including, building confidence, clearing your mind, coping in a healthy way and getting more social interaction. As my friend explained, “The hard part is not receiving the treatment. The most difficult part is the step before that, actually having to reach out and ask for help.” It is better to get help and be diagnosed for these illnesses at a young age. Research shows, as teens get older and go through puberty, it gets harder to speak up to family or friends about their concerns (Tartakovsky, Margarita M.S.). Sometimes people are unsure of their own struggles and disorders. I think it is important for adolescents to be examined in school by nurses, to prevent sadness, nervousness and suicides in students. Methodology

The methodology used for this research was mostly from online articles, and journals. The views on depression and anxiety have changed over the past decade; so online articles are my best sources in research, as they are fairly new, and are constantly being updated. Journals from the library can take up to 10 years to publish, and by that time, the information may be invalid, or outdated. However, some of the research is from journals. I also applied my own knowledge, based on my personal experience and other people I have interacted with. I interviewed a close friend of mine who had been suffering with depression for many years. She had gone untreated for over a year and has faced many struggles and battles in her life. Hearing her story and seeing her now being treated has given me a lot of knowledge on this subject and made me realize how important it is to get treated.


My research shows why adolescents are more prone to depression and anxiety, the causes, and treatments. Many causes of these illnesses are unknown. More research and experiments could help understand the cause and potentially benefit adolescent suffering without treatment. After researching, reviewing survey results and interviewing my friend, I understand the illnesses anxiety and depression much better, and also know how to detect them in adolescents.

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The Issue of Depression and Anxiety Among Adolescents in the United States. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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