Posts Tagged ‘ teen depression ’

Teen Comedian Tackles Depression in Viral Video

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Kevin Breel, at age 19, has given a TED talk in which he’s painfully honest about living with depression as a teenager, and feeling that stigmas that surround mental health were stopping him from asking for help.  More from

Like many of the 121 million people worldwide who suffer from depression, Breel said he was leading a double life. In high school, while everyone else saw a happy popular kid and star on the basketball court, deep inside there was a boy tortured by intense pain that kept ratcheting up.

“I’d look at the school,” Breel told Geist. “And I would know in my head that, ‘I’m about to walk in there and smile, laugh, high-five people, and put on a total front.’”

If you haven’t been depressed, there’s no way to understand it.

“Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong,” Breel says. “Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.”

“I felt like I couldn’t be happy,” Breel added.

He believes his depression was triggered by the tragic loss of a best friend coupled with the divorce of his parents, and he turned his feelings of loss and anger inward.

“I started to, in a way, hate myself,” he said. “I felt so unhappy and I couldn’t explain why or justify why to anyone. So I didn’t feel like I could talk about it.”

As a teenager he used sports as a way to escape his pain. But his successes, instead of making him feel good, only underscored how bad he felt.

“We had just won a high school basketball championship, and I was leading scorer of the tournament,” Breel said. “I was first team all-star, and our team won the championship. I had everything that I had thought of for four years. And I realized that that wasn’t going to take away my pain.”

See Breel’s whole TED talk here:

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Study: 1 in 12 Teens May Have Serious Anger Disorder

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Teenagers almost universally wrestle with angst, moodiness, and anger, but a new study has found that as many as 1 in 12 American adolescents may suffer from an anger disorder called intermittent explosive disorder (IED).  From

Study author Katie McLaughlin, a clinical psychologist and psychiatric epidemiologist, says IED is one of the most widespread mental health disorders – and one of the least studied.

“There’s a contrast between how common the disorder is and how much we know about it,” she said.

IED is characterized by recurrent episodes of aggression that involve violence, a threat of violence and/or destruction of property, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It often begins around the age of 12, but scientists don’t know whether it continues into adulthood. (A similar study which focused on adults found 7.2% met the criteria for IED).

“Intermittent explosive disorder is as real or unreal as many psychiatric disorders,” wrote CNN’s mental health expert Dr. Charles Raison in an e-mail. “There are people who get really pissed off really quick and then regret it, just as there are people who get unreasonably sad and depressed. In both cases, but especially with [IED], it’s really just a description of how people behave.”

In this large study, researchers authors interviewed 6,483 adolescents and surveyed their parents. They excluded anyone who had another mental health disorder, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder(ODD) or conduct disorder (CD).

Of the teenage participants, 7.8% reported at least three IED anger attacks during their life.  More than 5% had at least three attacks in the same year.

Image: Angry teenager, via Shutterstock

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Study: Depression Makes Kids a Target for Bullies

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Most of us think that being bullied makes children depressed, but a new study finds a different story: kids who show signs of depression are more likely to attract the wrath of bullies.

Published in the journal Child Development, the study followed 486 children through fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, monitoring the students’ depression symptoms and surveying parents, teachers, and the kids themselves to find out how well they got along with peers.


Fourth graders who showed signs of depression were more likely than their classmates to be victimized as fifth graders, and kids who were picked on in fifth grade tended to be less accepted by their peers in sixth grade.

By contrast, the researchers found little evidence that being bullied increased a child’s risk of becoming depressed in later grades.

Lead author Karen P. Kochel, Ph.D., an assistant research professor at Arizona State University, says bullies tend to seek out victims who are unlikely to fight back, and depression can make kids appear vulnerable. Depression can also leave children without the social skills they need to cope.

The report continues:

The findings, Kochel says, drive home how important it is for parents and teachers to be aware of the signs of depression in children, arrange for treatment if needed, and help depressed children socialize and get along with their peers. The cycle of depression and victimization is likely to get worse if left unchecked, since depressive symptoms tend to intensify during the teen years, she says.

You can find more on depression symptoms in children here.


Image: Upset boy with backpack via Shutterstock.

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CDC: Insufficient Sleep Among Teens Linked with Risky Behaviors

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that more than 65 percent of American teenagers do not get enough sleep each night (“enough” sleep is defined as 8 hours or more).  In a new study published online in the journal Preventative Medicine, the chronic lack of sleep is linked with a list of behaviors that are risky to teens’ health.  Specifically, teens who didn’t get enough sleep:

  • Drank soda or pop 1 or more times per day (not including diet soda or diet pop)
  • Did not participate in 60 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more of the past 7 days
  • Used computers 3 or more hours each day
  • Had been in a physical fight 1 or more times
  • Practiced current cigarette use
  • Practiced current alcohol use
  • Practiced current marijuana use
  • Practiced currently sexually active
  • Felt sad or hopeless
  • Seriously considered attempting suicide

“Public health intervention is greatly needed, and the consideration of delayed school start times may hold promise as one effective step in a comprehensive approach to address this problem,” said Lela McKnight-Eily of the CDC’s Division of Adult and Community Health in a statement.

(image via:


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Parental Honesty, Openness Linked with Lower Teen Depression

Friday, July 8th, 2011

ParentandTeenA new study by a Wellesley College psychologist has tapped into a way parents can protect teens from symptoms and feelings of depression–practice honest, open, and authentic communication.

In the study, conducted by assistant professor of psychology Sally A. Theran, both male and female teens who felt they could share their opinions openly and let their parents know about their authentic lives benefited by having fewer depressive symptoms than teens who felt less comfortable saying things that are important, upsetting, or confusing to them.

The study collected information from middle-school students in three cities and towns.  Consent forms were sent to parents, and then the students with permission filled out questionnaires.

Teenage girls have long been identified as experiencing depression more frequently than boys, but the data from the study shows that authentic, honest relationships affects both genders.  Theran found that 31 percent of girls’ depressive symptoms, including fatigue, loss of interest, and appetite changes, and 47 percent of boys’ symptoms, could be attributed to factors relating to the authenticity of the teens’ relationships with their parents.

“Authenticity in relationships with parents gets us about a one-third, or half, of the way toward explaining the individual differences in depressive symptoms. Understanding the role that authenticity in relationships plays in both boys’ and girls’ lives can help us to buffer children from depressive symptoms.,” Theran said in a statement.

The findings did not find that authenticity and honesty with peers similarly affected rates of depression.  So it appears that the parental relationship is uniquely able to influence teens’ emotional well-being and stave off depression.  “Peers may be important, but perhaps authenticity has a different meaning for peers than it does for parents,” Theran wrote in the report.

Theran had this advice for parents:  “I’d encourage parents to keep open lines of communication with their children – and yet remember that they are authority figures, not friends. Clearly, teenagers who could be open and honest with their parents benefited by having fewer depressive symptoms.”

(image via:

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