What Is a Major Depressive Episode Among Teens?

Teen depression is a serious issue that is often overlooked or misunderstood. One in every five adolescents in the United States is estimated to suffer from depression

Unfortunately, many teens do not seek help for their depression, resulting in continuing these symptoms and worsening their overall mental health. It is important for parents, teachers, and other adults to be able to recognize the signs of major depressive episodes in teens so that they can receive the help they need.

Mental and behavioral health specialists have learned more about teen depression during the past 30 years. Depression was primarily considered to be an adult disorder in the 1980s. But during the past ten years or more, there has been a severe depression epidemic among young people.

Thus, teens must learn how to spot the symptoms of a major depressive episode. Read more about major depressive episodes and where to find a teenage mental health facility. 

Major Depressive Episode: What Is It?

Major depression, major depressive illness, and clinical depression are other terms for a depressive episode. Some of the worst symptoms of depression fit this description.

Major depressive disorder in teenagers can cause frequent, long-lasting episodes. It consequently has a significant impact on everyone’s quality of life. Prominent and pervasive sensations of sadness are another sign of severe depression. Moreover, similar emotions may be linked to suicidal thoughts.

So, a major depressive episode makes it difficult for a teen to focus or carry out daily chores.

Severe depressive episodes are more common in teenagers. A 2018 survey found that, since 2013, there have been 33% more diagnoses of severe depressive disorder. As a result, it is projected that this mental health condition currently impacts 9 million Americans with commercial insurance. Moreover, teen depression is a growing problem. They expanded by 37% from 2005 to 2014.

Causes of Major Depressive Episodes

Episodes of major depression could have unidentified causes. But on rare occasions, particular occurrences or conditions may trigger severe depression. These triggers include the loss of a loved one or another family catastrophe, social isolation, significant life changes, trauma brought on by abuse or a traumatic event, and issues with interpersonal relationships.

In these situations, parents need to keep a close eye on their adolescent’s behavior. They could be able to prevent a severe depressive episode as a result.

Teens’ Major Depression Episodes: Causes and Prevention

Experts put out several explanations as to why severe teen depression is rising so quickly. Most importantly, researchers think that a variety of variables may interact to influence teenagers.

  • Absence of coping mechanisms: Parents want to protect adolescents from heartache and failure. Teens consequently have less opportunity to develop resilience. They don’t have the necessary emotional coping strategies as a result. They are, therefore, more vulnerable to depression.
  • Social media: For teenagers, social comparison is the leading cause of pressure and anxiety. Teens who depressingly compare their circumstances to those of their online friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Academic demands: Today’s youth are more stressed than ever due to the volatile economy, fierce competition for employment, graduate programs, college admissions, and other factors. Hence, there is a higher chance of having a major depressive episode.
  • Excessive screen time: According to researchers, depression and excessive screen usage are linked. Researchers claim that adolescent screen time has increased over the past ten years. 

As a result, they engage in fewer productive offline activities. This may partially explain the rise in hopelessness and suicide.


Major depressive episodes can be a serious mental health disorder that can be very difficult to diagnose in teens and should not be taken lightly. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is important to get the help you need. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to talk to your parents and get help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment, teens can learn to manage their depression and have a brighter outlook on life.

Ascend Behavioral Health provides mental health counseling for kids, teenagers & families in Fresno, CA. Get in touch with us today!