Fear may lead to depression for teens

Addressing the fears teenagers find difficult to overcome could help tackle depression among this age group. New research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown it can be hard to extinguish fear from the developed teenage brain.

Investigators from Weill Cornell Medical College noted this might explain why instances of anxiety and depression are often high during adolescence.

According to the findings, teens tend to react to threats even when the danger has passed, while there is also a diminishing of their ability to suppress emotional responses to these threats.

Dr Francis Lee, Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry at the learning institute, said it is vital researchers "find a way to help teenagers become more resilient to the fear they experience during adolescence to prevent it from leading to a lifetime of anxiety and depression".

The expert added personalised approaches to the treatment of fear and anxiety disorders in adolescents are required.

Chartered psychologist Emma Citron, a consultant clinical psychologist who spealises in work with teenagers, comments:

"This is an intriguing study which adds another interesting angle on why depression in some youngsters can seem resistant to improvement to clinicians working with them. If a fear component to low mood in teenagers is contributing to maintaining it this will help clinicians to better understand how to help teens."