You’ve seen a change. Your young adult has lost interest in some of his or her favorite hobbies. They are eating too much or you’ve noticed drastic weight loss. Maybe they get tired easily or are suddenly very irritable.
Your young adult may be experiencing an episode of depression.
Unfortunately, depression, also referred to collectively as depressive disorders, is very common. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says over 17 million adult Americans are affected by either major depressive disorder or persistent depressive disorder.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports both men and women of all ethnicities are affected by depression, though women are 70% more likely than men to develop it. The disorder is seen in adolescents as young as 13, with the average age of onset being 32. An individual may experience only an episode or two within his or her lifetime, or may deal with symptoms constantly.
The good news is depression is also very treatable. According to NIMH, the “majority [of people], even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment.”
Is It Depression?
Be aware symptoms of depression vary among individuals. Often, NIMH says, a person experiences depressed moods for much longer than a few days at a time.
Are you unsure whether or not your young adult should see a licensed mental health professional? Ask yourself these questions:
- Has my child been suffering from pains that don’t go away? Pay particular attention to headaches, cramps, or digestive issues.
- Does my child have difficulty going to sleep, wakes up too early, or sleeps too much?
- Has my child become forgetful? Difficulty making decisions is another possible indicator.
- Is my child less active than before or complaining of feeling tired all of the time?
- Has my child shared feelings of worthlessness or unnecessary guilt?
- Does my child seem sad or anxious all of the time?
- What has my child’s appetite been like recently? Is he or she suddenly eating too much or too little?
- Is my child acting hopeless or unusually pessimistic?
- Has my child been irritable or restless?
- Does my child still participate in activities he or she enjoys, or has he or she been avoiding them?
- Have I noticed anything that makes me think my child might be suicidal?
Types of Depression
The NIMH names these as depressive disorders:
- Major depression (or major depressive disorder)
- Persistent depressive disorder
- Psychotic depression
- Postpartum depression
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Bi-polar disorder
A mental health professional will need to evaluate your young adult to determine what form of depressive disorder he or she is experiencing.
If You Suspect Depression
Bring your young adult to a qualified mental health professional as soon as possible. If you need help locating one, ask your child’s physician for a referral. Consider that just as there are many different symptoms, there are also many possible treatments. The sooner your young adult receives help, the sooner he or she will have a treatment plan that works.
Learn more about how our Clinical Psychology Services can help your young adult.