With Adulthood Comes Change, and Sometimes Depression
The average twenty-something has a lot going on. Many are finishing college, forming a personal identity apart from the family unit, working through some of their first close relationships and starting a career. And since change can trigger a low mood, it isn’t surprising that people this age might struggle with some depression.
In addition, people in their twenties are still in a rapid stage of brain development. In fact, vital areas of brain function will not finish developing until the mid-to-late twenties. Things such as impulse control and reasoning ability are the last to mature within the brain. This means that a young person is facing weighty demands before they are fully equipped to handle them. Reason enough to experience a period of sadness and frustration.
When there is a family history of depression, the condition tends to show up for the first time between the ages of 14 to 24. Thus, twenty-somethings are in a high-risk age group.
How can you know if the young person in your life is depressed? Here are some signs.
1. Lost Pleasure – A person this age who is depressed may go to parties, out with friends or attend events, but they show a different level of enthusiasm for these things than before. On the other hand, they may withdraw from friends and once-normal social engagements. This is a more obvious sign of trouble.
2. Tired All the Time – Hopelessness lives on the coattails of depression. Hope is what encourages a person to get up, keep going and try harder. Without it, motivation is lost. In addition, low emotions often translate into low energy. A depressed person feels tired all the time and therefore has trouble getting up and meeting the day’s responsibilities. If they are lying on the couch or in bed when they would normally be up and active, something is amiss.
3. Trouble Concentrating – Just when they need to be assessing their options and making key life decisions, depression can rob a young person of the ability to focus and concentrate. This inability to think clearly can negatively impact their education or career, and those failures can bring them down even further.
4. Insomnia – Trouble sleeping is a telltale sign of depression. The person may be waking up in the wee hours of the night and just can’t seem to fall back asleep. One expert suggests that increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol may be responsible.
5. Substance Use – When symptoms appear, young people may turn to drugs or alcohol in order to ease their discomfort. Substance abuse is sometimes perceived as a rite of passage for young people, but it could be a sign of pain.
6. Low Libido – Most people in their twenties will have a strong interest in the sex. A reduced interest in sex is a sign of depression, even in young people.
7. Up or Down Weight – Some people eat when they are depressed, others stop eating. If there is a noticeable change in weight, it could be a symptom of depression
If you see the signs that a loved one may be struggling with depression, encourage them to seek treatment.
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