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Study Finds Rise in Bodily Symptoms of Depression

Study Finds Rise in Bodily Symptoms of Depression

New research shows Americans now report more psychosomatic symptoms of depression, such as trouble sleeping and trouble concentrating, than their counterparts in the 1980s.

San Diego State University researchers analyzed data from 6.9 million adolescents and adults from all over the country.

“Previous studies found that more people have been treated for depression in recent years, but that could be due to more awareness and less stigma,” said psychologist Dr. Jean Twenge, the author of “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable than Ever Before.”

“This study shows an increase in symptoms most people don’t even know are connected to depression, which suggests adolescents and adults really are suffering more.”

Study results are published in the journal Social Indicators Research.

Compared to their 1980s counterparts, teens in the 2010s are 38 percent more likely to have trouble remembering, 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping, and twice as likely to have seen a professional for mental health issues.

College students surveyed were 50 percent more likely to say they feel overwhelmed, and adults were more likely to say their sleep was restless, they had poor appetite and everything was an effort — all classic psychosomatic symptoms of depression.

“Despite all of these symptoms, people are not any more likely to say they are depressed when asked directly, again suggesting that the rise is not based on people being more willing to admit depression,” said Twenge.

The study also found that the suicide rate for teens decreased, though the decline was small compared to the increase in symptoms of depression.

With the use of antidepressant medications doubling over this time period, Twenge speculates that medication may have helped those with the most severe problems but has not reduced increases in other symptoms that, she says, can still cause significant issues.

Source: San Diego State University

Study Finds Rise in Bodily Symptoms of Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Study Finds Rise in Bodily Symptoms of Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2014/10/01/study-finds-rise-in-bodily-symptoms-of-depression/75598.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.