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Depres­sion, like many oth­er health prob­lems, is a type of men­tal dis­or­der that is also an equal-oppor­tu­ni­ty illness. Whether a child, teenag­er, adult, or senior adult, any­one of any age, can get afflict­ed by it. Accord­ing to the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion (WHO), more than two hun­dred and six­ty-four mil­lion peo­ple of all ages glob­al­ly expe­ri­ence depression. If you belong to greater than 14.8 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion of Amer­i­can adults that suf­fer from depres­sion. Your con­di­tion may be so dis­tress­ing that you can­not get out of your bed, be with the peo­ple you adore or per­form the activ­i­ties that you nor­mal­ly like. Real­is­ti­cal­ly, there occur many dif­fer­ent symp­toms of depres­sion, includ­ing the wide­ly known – sad­ness and cry­ing- to some of those that may not relate to depres­sion, like anger, back pain, and workaholism. Depres­sion is an ill­ness that affects not only mood but each aspect of an individual’s life, says an expert of Johns Hop­kins, Andrew Angeli­no. One of WHO’s pre­dic­tions is that depres­sion would be the lead­ing rea­son behind dis­abil­i­ty world­wide after car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease by 2020. Peo­ple who suf­fer from depres­sion are much more prone to expe­ri­ence addi­tion­al chron­ic med­ical prob­lems, includ­ing car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, arthri­tis, back issues, raised blood pres­sure, dia­betes, and worse out­comes. More­over, untreat­ed depres­sion fur­ther affects the immune response towards some vac­cines in an individual. How­ev­er, depres­sion isn’t only debil­i­tat­ing, but it can also turn dead­ly. Accord­ing to an esti­ma­tion, 1 out of 5 peo­ple expe­ri­enc­ing depres­sion can try sui­cide at any point in life.


Depres­sion isn’t just a mood that can be got­ten over. As Angeli­no says, it is an ill­ness that involves the brain’s inca­pa­bil­i­ty to reg­is­ter plea­sur­able activities. The MRI stud­ies of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from depres­sion show changes in var­i­ous brain seg­ments, which are respon­si­ble for play­ing an impor­tant role in this disease.

Risk Factors

Women have a dou­ble chance of being iden­ti­fied with depres­sion as com­pared to men. Also, there are high­er pos­si­bil­i­ties of devel­op­ing depres­sion if the indi­vid­ual is between the ages of 45–64, divorced, or non-white, unable to fin­ish high school, can­not work or is unem­ployed, and doesn’t pos­sess health insurance.

Some other risk factors for depression are:

What Is Depression l symptoms of depression l depression in children l depression in teens l the great depression 1- Fac­ing stress­ful sit­u­a­tions in life, for exam­ple, issues in mar­i­tal life, los­ing a job, finan­cial chal­lenges, or some seri­ous health matters. 2- Some spe­cif­ic per­son­al­i­ty traits, like feel­ing extreme­ly upset in times of stress. 3- With not so good child­hood, for exam­ple, the one that involved some abuse, unhealthy rela­tion­ship with par­ents, or par­ents with their mar­i­tal problems. 4- Also, with a pri­or fam­i­ly his­to­ry of this dis­ease, the indi­vid­ual has a 3–4 times increased risk of get­ting depression. All in all, depres­sion is much more com­mon than any­one may think, with almost 1 out of ten adults that can get depressed at some point, and around half of these indi­vid­u­als get­ting severely. 

Depression usually begins in childhood

Major depres­sive dis­or­der (MDD) in chil­dren (5–12 years) is a con­fronting and seri­ous disorder.  Research­es have demon­strat­ed that most adult dis­or­ders have their ori­gins in child­hood, and most child­hood dis­or­ders have con­se­quences that per­sist in adult­hood. Addi­tion­al­ly, MDD that emerges in chil­dren aged 5–12 years can be sev­ered and lead to poor­er out­comes, com­pared with lat­er onset MDD. Depres­sion is a com­mon con­di­tion, with up to 8% of all teenagers have met the cri­te­ria for depres­sion. In fact, by the age of 21 years, up to 14.8 % of indi­vid­u­als have met the cri­te­ria for a mood dis­or­der. Kathy Hogan­Bru­en, a Ph.D. and senior direc­tor for pre­vent­ing NMHA (Nation­al Men­tal Health Asso­ci­a­tion), explains that kids do expe­ri­ence men­tal health issues. Accord­ing to her, child­hood depres­sion is wide­spread and real but is also treatable. Accord­ing to the Fed­er­al Cen­ter for Men­tal Health Ser­vices, depres­sion affects 1 in every thir­ty-three chil­dren and also 1 in 8 adolescents. No one rea­son can cause depres­sion among chil­dren, accord­ing to NMHA’s cam­paign regard­ing men­tal health matters. Usu­al­ly, a pri­or fam­i­ly his­to­ry of depres­sion, stress­ful events like divorce, los­ing one of the par­ents, or dis­crim­i­na­tion, and addi­tion­al psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal issues can con­tribute to this disease. Chil­dren who expe­ri­enced chron­ic ill­ness were neglect­ed, abused, or faced oth­er trau­mas are also at an increased risk of devel­op­ing depression. Accord­ing to David Fassler, a Psy­chi­a­try pro­fes­sor, depres­sion usu­al­ly occurs in oth­er men­tal prob­lems in chil­dren such as bipo­lar, anx­i­ety, or dis­rup­tive behav­iour­al disorders. Ado­les­cents who get clin­i­cal­ly depressed fea­ture a greater risk of sub­stance abuse issues. Chil­dren who suf­fer from depres­sion are at greater risk of attempt­ing sui­cide. The sui­ci­dal rate has almost spiked three­fold among the young pop­u­la­tion since 1960. It is the 6th lead­ing cause of death for 5–14 aged chil­dren, the 3rd lead­ing cause for death between the age of 15–24-year-old peo­ple, and the 2nd lead­ing cause of death for col­lege students. Chil­dren, includ­ing tod­dlers and infants who are not at the age of express­ing them­selves like old­er chil­dren, might exhib­it this dis­ease’s symptoms. Fassler says atten­tion should be giv­en in their case if the child is show­ing with­draw­ing signs, does not wish to play, smile, inter­act with oth­ers, or begins los­ing weight. The men­tal health experts con­cern­ing child­hood empha­size that the treat­ment for depres­sion in chil­dren is nor­mal­ly very successful. With the use of a mul­ti-pronged strat­e­gy for the child, fam­i­ly, or/and school coun­selling, also with anti­de­pres­sants, 75–80% of chil­dren with depres­sion can suc­cess­ful­ly over­come depres­sion, says Fassler. In the absence of treat­ment, many of them can expe­ri­ence anoth­er inci­dent of depres­sion in two years. Accord­ing to Fassler, chil­dren who unable to express them­selves as old­er chil­dren can also be treat­ed effec­tive­ly by play ther­a­py. Accord­ing to Kath­leen P. Hock­ey, who also expe­ri­enced depres­sion and is a licensed social work­er. Depres­sion in chil­dren can be avert­ed or min­i­mal­ly; its risk fac­tors can be reduced, in a sim­i­lar way, as the risk fac­tors of type 2 dia­betes or heart dis­ease can be reduced. Many of its risk fac­tors among chil­dren are most­ly envi­ron­men­tal and alter­able. Accord­ing to Hock­ey, if the num­ber of these risk fac­tors is reduced, the chances of a child suf­fer­ing from most types of clin­i­cal depres­sion will be lowered.

Symptoms of Depression in various Ages

The signs and symp­toms of depres­sion do not appear like­wise in every per­son expe­ri­enc­ing this dis­ease. These can vary fair­ly from one to anoth­er, and par­tic­u­lar­ly among many age groups.

Children (5–12 years)

What Is Depression l symptoms of depression l depression in children l depression in teens l the great depression Depres­sive dis­or­ders in child­hood, ado­les­cence and adult­hood are typ­i­cal­ly defined by the same under­ly­ing fea­tures: changes in mood, think­ing and activ­i­ty that are suf­fi­cient to cause impair­ment in per­son­al and social functioning. In chil­dren, how­ev­er, there are impor­tant dif­fer­ences, depend­ing on their devel­op­men­tal stage. Younger chil­dren tend not to look depressed. Chil­dren may deny feel­ing sad but acknowl­edge feel­ing ‘down’ or ‘grumpy.’ Chil­dren with depres­sion typ­i­cal­ly find it hard to say pos­i­tive things about them­selves and blame them­selves for dif­fi­cul­ties in their lives. Chil­dren are less like­ly to talk about sub­jec­tive feel­ings and are more like­ly to present with somat­ic symp­toms (e.g., headaches, abdom­i­nal and mus­cu­loskele­tal pain, fatigue). Chil­dren present more with mood labil­i­ty, irri­tabil­i­ty and tem­per tantrums rather than depressed mood. Lack of inter­est could be man­i­fest­ed as a loss of inter­est in plea­sur­able activ­i­ties as one does not want to see friends. They may man­i­fest as sleep dis­tur­bances, con­cen­tra­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, or appetite disturbances. Motor affec­tion could be in the form of Mov­ing and walk­ing slow­ly, rest­less­ness. Cog­ni­tion affec­tion may reflect as guilt, fear of bad things going to hap­pen, being a bad per­son, hat­ing them­selves, think­ing no one loves them, neg­a­tive com­ments about themselves Also, many fac­tors can poten­tial­ly trig­ger depres­sion among chil­dren, such as domes­tic vio­lence, abuse, divorce, parental depres­sion, mov­ing to anoth­er school, and loss of a loved one. As dis­cussed above, depres­sion in chil­dren is treat­able. If you see your child is depressed and might require help, ask his school coun­sel­lor or a pedi­a­tri­cian to refer him to a per­son spe­cial­ized in children. symptoms of depression l in children l in teens l the great 


While mood swings are quite nor­mal at the age of 12–18, but you should note such mood changes that stay longer for more than one or two weeks. Many life prob­lems that impact young chil­dren may lead to this dis­ease in teenagers as well. Depres­sion among teens can arise from stress­es to mature and suc­ceed, to fit in, hor­mon­al and sex­u­al­i­ty con­cerns, rejec­tion by peer group, and lack of sleep. The usu­al signs in them include school issues, feel­ings of anger, worth­less­ness, and sen­si­tiv­i­ty, eat­ing or sleep­ing a lot, avoid­ing friends, self-harm­ing behav­iours, or drug abuse. A teen talk­ing about death or dying or giv­ing away favourite pas­sions, writ­ing good­bye let­ters, should def­i­nite­ly be tak­en seri­ous­ly by the par­ents. Teens may even tend to run away from home. If you assume such signs in your teen, you should ask him in a low-pres­sure man­ner and also take him to the doc­tor to check if the symp­toms are due to a health prob­lem like hypothy­roidism. More­over, if not the case, the doc­tor may refer him to a therapist. Not all of the above-men­tioned symp­toms have to be present for a diag­no­sis of depres­sion. Symp­toms usu­al­ly occur on most days for at least two weeks.


Young adults from 19–29 some­times suf­fer from depres­sion because of major trans­for­ma­tions in life, rela­tion­ship prob­lems, decreased sup­port in a new envi­ron­ment, trau­ma, work prob­lems, and much more. Young adults from 19–29 some­times suf­fer from depres­sion because of major trans­for­ma­tions in life, rela­tion­ship prob­lems, decreased sup­port in a new envi­ron­ment, trau­ma, work prob­lems, and much more. Adults from 30–60 have much more going in their lives that can stim­u­late depres­sion, such as tak­ing care of chil­dren and age­ing par­ents, rela­tion­ship and work issues, menopause, ill­ness­es, increased num­ber of respon­si­bil­i­ties, and finan­cial stress. Along with its stan­dard signs, some peo­ple may exhib­it alco­hol or drug abuse, anger, or abusive/violent behaviour. Also, in senior adults, depres­sion isn’t a norm that occurs with age, but is very com­mon and is usu­al­ly left untreat­ed in them. At this age, symp­toms include anx­i­ety and sad­ness, fatigue, mood changes that do not let up, and trou­ble sleep­ing and focusing. Also, phys­i­cal pains and aches are often con­sid­ered symp­toms of depres­sion. Usu­al­ly, these senior adults devel­op depres­sion by deal­ing with reg­u­lar late-life prob­lems like social iso­la­tion, los­ing loved ones, finan­cial stress, health prob­lems, and medications. Please encour­age them to build a strong sup­port sys­tem, talk to their doc­tor regard­ing their symp­toms, and also pos­si­bly see a professional. Dr.Eman Sed­ky has med­ical­ly reviewed the article. 

Final Thought!

While there exists no cure for depres­sion, there are many effec­tive treat­ments that can aid with recovery. Depres­sion can affect an indi­vid­ual at any age, from child­hood to old­er life. A lot of peo­ple, irre­spec­tive of age, who expe­ri­ence depres­sion can recov­er from it if they fol­low treat­ment prop­er­ly. The ear­li­er a treat­ment begins, the more suc­cess can be expect­ed from it. Par­ents should pay atten­tion to their children’s dai­ly activ­i­ties and play an instru­men­tal role in their recov­ery by reduc­ing the poten­tial risk fac­tors that can trig­ger the devel­op­ment of depression. 

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