Why today’s girls are so anxious and depressed

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When estrogen comes on board during puberty, it is particularly powerful at increasing a potent stress response to unmitigated stressors. Photo: Unsplash


(Elisa Strauss/ CNN News) — My teenage years, like many of our teenage years, were raw ones. I felt vulnerable, destabilized and confused, and I chronicled every bit of it on the pages of highly guarded diaries.

Looking back, I see there was a beauty to this rawness. All those strong feelings helped me figure out who I was and what kind of people I wanted around me. I also feel lucky to be a part of the last generation to experience childhood without much in the way of digital life, and the last to be influenced by Gen X slackers rather than the self-optimizers who came next. This rawness was somewhat protected from societal influences telling me I should do and be more.

That’s not true today. Girls are growing with a rising number of external pressures, making their transition into teen and adulthood far more psychologically disturbing than it used to be. Research shows sharp spikes in depression and anxiety among girls in recent years, at rates notably higher than boys.

In her new book, “Girls on the Brink: Helping Our Daughters Thrive in an Era of Increased Anxiety, Depression, and Social Media,” Donna Jackson Nakazawa looks into why this is the case, and what we can do about it. (…)

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