Depression in Teens: Your Top 8 Questions Answered


6. What causes serious depression?
Genetics is a big piece of the picture, but life events, trauma and bad experiences probably make important contributions. Everyone seems to inherit a greater or lesser tendency to develop depression, and this tendency interacts with life events to set off the illness in some. Some researchers believe that the genetic factors are probably more important in people with early-onset depression.

7. Can drug or alcohol abuse cause depression?
Mood disorders and substance abuse problems seem to go hand in hand in many individuals, but it's not clear at all how the two types of problems are related to each other. Sometimes one seems to have caused the other, but it's often impossible to say which came first. It's the toughest "chicken or egg" question we have in psychiatry. One thing is certain, however: Depression is much harder -- some would say impossible -- to treat in a person who's abusing drugs or alcohol.

8. Where can I get help for my teen?
Family doctors and pediatricians are more and more aware of how common depression is in their patients and are very capable of diagnosing serious depression. Some will be comfortable treating milder depressions, but many will want an expert to take over the treatment and will refer their patients to a psychologist first or to a psychiatrist to be evaluated for medication.

Watch the animation featuring Kate Hudson at and find out how to recognize and get help for depression.

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