A U.S. study of 67,706 children between the ages of 12 and 17 has revealed alarmingly high levels of depression. Overall 8.5% of the sample had experienced a major depressive episode although there were 'striking differences' by sex with 12.7% of girls and 4.6% of boys being affected. Nearly half of the adolescents experiencing major depression said that it severely impaired their ability to function in at least one of the four areas of home life, school/work, family relationships and social life. Adolescents reporting the most serious impairment said that they were unable to carry out normal activities on an average of over 58 days in the past year. The survey was carried out using the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) but as it was carried out by survey takers not mental-health professionals it may have overestimated the extent of the problem.
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