Health Watch - Moods: Predicting Teen Depression

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about moods and managing them. Depression can be especially difficult to predict and diagnose in teens, but researchers may have found one way to predict which teens are likely to become depressed.

Adults with depression tend to reach the REM stage of sleep earlier in the sleep cycle. Dr. Uma Rao, a psychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that teens with a family history of depression but without symptoms also reach the REM stage earlier. These teens are then more likely to develop depression within five years than teens who reach the REM stage later. Researchers also found that teens with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol were more likely to develop depression. Dr. Rao says these findings may lead to ways to take measures to treat depression in children and teens before it affects their lives.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in mental health.


September 2009

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