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Mental Health

Narrative

In 2010, 8.0 percent of adolescents aged 12–17 years, or 1.9 million adolescents, experienced at least one major depressive episode (MDE), which is defined as having at least 2 weeks of a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, plus a majority of specific depression symptoms, such as altered sleeping patterns, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).1 Females were more likely than males to experience MDE (11.8 percent versus 4.4 percent). Occurrence of MDE increased with age, from 3.3 percent among children age 12 years to 10.9 and 10.3 percent among children ages 16 and 17, respectively (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

Among adolescents experiencing MDE in 2010, over two-thirds (1.3 million) also experienced severe impairment, defined by the degree to which activities and roles, such as completing chores at home, going to school or work, or maintaining close family relationships, are affected. MDE with severe impairment was more common among older adolescents and females (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

In 2010, adolescents aged 12 to 17 with pasty-ear MDE were more likely than those without MDE to have used illicit drugs in the past year (37.2 compared to 17.8 percent). Adolescents with past-year MDE were also more likely to report daily cigarette and heavy alcohol use in the past month compared with those without past-year MDE. Among adolescents with past-year MDE who used illicit drugs, 25.3 percent reported using marijuana or hashish, and 17.0 percent reported non-medical use of psychotherapeutics such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives. Among adolescents who did not experience past-year MDE, the proportion who reported using these substances was 12.9 and 6.5 percent, respectively (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-42, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4667. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

MDE in the past year graph

This image is described in the Data section.

Substance abuse among adolescents by MDE graph

Data

Occurrence of Major Depressive Episode (MDE)* in the Past Year Among Adolescents Aged 12-17 Years, by Age and Sex, 2010
Age Percent of Adolescents
Male Female
*MDE is defined as a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of specific depression symptoms.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-42, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4667. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012. Accessed: May 18, 2012.
Total 4.4 11.8
Age 12 2 4.8
Age 13 2.1 8.3
Age 14 3.8 12.1
Age 15 4.2 15.8
Age 16 6.3 15.7
Age 17 7.3 13.5
Substance Use among Adolescents Aged 12-17, by Past-Year Major Depressive Episode (MDE),* 2010
Age Percent of Adolescents
Past Year MDE No Past Year MDE
*MDE is defined as a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of specific depression symptoms.
**Illicit Drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-type psychotherapeutics used non-medically.
†Heavy Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Mental Health Findings, NSDUH Series H-42, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 11-4667. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2012. Accessed: May 18, 2012.
Past Year Illicit Drug Use** 37.2 17.80
Past Month Daily Cigarette Use 3.1 1.8
Past Month Heavy Alcohol Use† 2.5 1.6