Depression Is the Top Disability Among US & Canadian Teens

Sadness Depression Artistic Concept

Depression has now become the leading cause of “years lived with disabilities” among youths aged 10-14, surpassing asthma.

According to a new study led by researchers at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, depression has surpassed asthma as the largest contributor to ‘years lived with disabilities’ for youths aged 10-14.

The scientists published their findings in the journal The Lancet. The estimation of years lived with disabilities (YLD) was used as a collective metric to see how much a particular disorder deprives the population of healthy years of life during a specific window of time. In 2010, just as in 1990, depression ranked number two in YLD, affecting 4% of the global population. Only back pain, which has affected 10% of the population worldwide, affected more people.

Among 10- to 14-year-olds, the top contributor worldwide was iron deficiency. Asthma had been the largest contributor to YLDs for youths in the US and Canada in 1990, but the newest study, depression surpassed asthma. The YLD from depression grew from 140,000 in 1990 to 180,000 in 2010, a 30% increase.

The global figures of YLD from depression grew from 4.9 million in 1990 to 5.5 million in 2010, a 13% increase. Whether the change in numbers reflects an actual increase in children who develop depression, a better diagnosis, documentation, or the way that healthcare practitioners and policymakers view mental health, is still an open question.

Whereas depression accounted for the most YLDs among adolescents, the disease burden from anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder in the US and Canada of all ages ranked 5, 10, and 18, respectively. By comparison, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder ranked 7, 16, and 18, respectively, among the world population of all ages.

Reference: Global Burden of Disease 2010, The Lancet.

2 Comments on "Depression Is the Top Disability Among US & Canadian Teens"

  1. I agree this person has no business being a teacher.

  2. Todd Atkins LCSW | July 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply

    Depression is really tough on teens. We work with adolescents and children aged 12 and up, and depression is a number one presenting problem. It is important to distinguish between the normal “moodiness” of adolescence versus a presentation of clinical depression. Thank you for this interesting article.

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.