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.
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:
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)
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 themselvesAlso, 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.
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.
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.