General Article Half of teens outgrow depression and anxiety

Topic Selected: Depression
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Around half of teens who experience a brief episode of depression or anxiety do not go on to have a mental illness in adulthood, according to a study from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

Half of girls and almost one-third of boys have an episode of depression or anxiety in their teens but rates drop sharply when young people reach their 20s.

The study is published today in The Lancet medical journal.

The researchers followed more than 1,900 adolescents from 1992 to 2008, assessing them for mental disorders at five points during adolescence and three in young adulthood.

The study defined depression and anxiety as a ‘level at which a family doctor would be concerned’.

‘The good news is teen problems are not a life sentence,’ said lead author Professor George Patton. ‘Many of these problems, particularly if they’re brief and last for six months or less, or in boys, tend to get better.’

This might be the result of adolescent development, including maturation of the brai...

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