Adolescent Depression Linked to Insomnia


Depression and generalized anxiety disorder can predict insomnia, according to a new study titled “The independent relationships between insomnia, depression, subtypes of anxiety, and chronotype during adolescence”.

Insomia prevents people from falling asleep, which leads to daytime sleepiness. This is a widespread disorder among the general public with more people surveyed stating they suffer from bouts of insomnia than snoring. In most countries about 11% of teens aged 13 to 16 years experience insomnia at some stage.”

The studies lead author Alvaro Pasquale K. Alvaro from School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia and colleagues evaluated 318 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years to determine the link between insomnia, depression and anxiety disorders.

Past sleep or mental health problems were reported by almost 25% of participants. Previous treatment for sleep or mental health problems were reported by 17%. Other medical issues were reported by 20%; 14% of whom reported previous or ongoing treatment for those issues. The most common problem was insomnia (11.19%) followed by major depressive disorder (8.39%).

Depression and insomnia were independently associated with each other. Similarly, insomnia was independently linked to generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder but not with obsessive compulsive disorder, separation anxiety or social phobia.

These findings suggest that the ‘eveningness’ chronotype — being more active in the evenings — is an independent risk factor for insomnia and depression. This is important because adolescents tend to develop a preference for evenings, which sometimes becomes a syndrome whereby they keep delaying going to sleep. Based on our evidence, we believe that prevention and treatment efforts for insomnia and depression should consider this combination of mental health, sleep, and the eveningness chronotype, in addition to current mainstream behavioral approaches. Prevention and treatment efforts for anxiety subtypes should also consider focusing on insomnia and depression.


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