How Does Depression Manifest in Different Age Groups?

How the Leader in Towson Psychiatry Observes Depression in Children, Teens, and Young Adults

The thing about mental health is that while most of us feel its effects, it is all too often invisible to others. The invisibility of mental health issues can make it feel like you are going through your mental health battle alone, but the truth of the matter is that you are in good company. Not only are you surrounded by a community of others who know what you’re going through, but leaders in Towson psychiatry like Psych Associates of Maryland are here to support you through all your mental health battles. That’s why we’re here with the first installment of our depression series to help provide a greater understanding of the ways that depression manifests in each age group. With this information, we hope to educate others and start a conversation around depression, helping to build a community around the internal struggles that many people face.

What are the Leading Causes of Depression?

The Leader in Towson Psychiatry Explores the Basis of Depression


One of the biggest misconceptions about depression is that it is merely feeling sad and glum. However, scientists are certain that depression is more than just your feelings; it’s an actualy chemical imbalance and change in your brain itself. A variety of chemical reactions and processes occur in your brain to preserve your mood and allow proper brain function, and depression occurs because these reactions are not being properly carried out.

What causes these functions to essentially stop working? A variety of things can lead to these changes in your brain. For instance, people with a family history of mental health issues and depression are likely to see these same issues occur. Additionally, trauma and medical conditions can change the way in which your brain functions, causing depression and anxiety. The same effect can be seen from drug use because drugs and alcohol change the way your brain functions on a short and long term scale.

How Depression Manifests Across Age Groups

It’s clear that depression has a wide variety of sources and can vary greatly from person to person. Regardless of the source of the depression, it’s important to recognize the gravity of depression in all ages. While many people don’t realize or recognize depression as valid in younger people, it’s important to note that people of all ages can become depressed, and it’s important to know how to recognize depression in each age group. Check out the breakdown before from the leader in Towson psychiatry on how depression manifests in various age groups.

Depression in Children

children depression

While depression is more common in adults, it is extremely possible for children to have depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) suggests that anywhere from 2-3 percent of children ages 6 to 12 develop serious depression. The National Alliance on Mental Health suggests that these numbers could be even higher with many parents unaware that their child’s pattern of sadness could actually be depression.

Depression in children is often sparked by an event - trauma, grief, fear, or general sadness- but doesn’t go away after a few days. Depression in young children also often materializes out of an anxiety disorder, causing children to feel bored, isolated, detached, irritability, guilty, and have low self-esteem despite no other factors leading to these feelings. If your child appears to be exhibiting a pattern of depression, consider talking to a doctor or a leader in Towson psychiatry to get to the root of the issue.

Depression in Teens

Depression in Teens

All too often we hear adults discounting feeling of depression in teens because they aren’t ‘real-world problems.’ However, teens have a set of increasingly difficult social and societal pressures to abide by that - while in the grand scheme of things may seem unimportant - can feel enormous and stressful to a young person. These pressures are the reason that up to 2.8 million children aged 12-17 have had at least one major depressive episode in 2014. Additionally, the CDC claims that 17% of high school students have seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months.  These statistics alone raise red flags to anyone who feels that depression in teens is not a ‘real-world problem.’

In teens, depression can be brought on by peer pressure, academic pressure, family issues, and the bodily changes that occur during puberty. These changes and pressures can cause stress that leads to changes in the brain’s chemistry and chemical imbalances that cause depression. Many parents have trouble separating these symptoms from typical teen angst, but changes in sleep and appetite, general disinterestedness, and hopelessness are signs of depression in teens. The best way to approach a teen regarding depression is with a trusted adult - an aunt or older cousin - or through a medical professional so that your teen can begin getting the help they need.

Depression in College Students and Young Adults

Depression in College Students

College students and young adults are often sick of hearing the phrase ‘best years of your life’ in reference to their early twenties. Amidst a period of financial hardship, being on your own for the first time, managing academic stress, and a period of turbulence in relationships, young adulthood is a stressful time in which depression is all too common.

In young adults, depression can often be masked by excuses like “I’m too busy.” Anxiety regarding the completion of school work and finances can lead to depressive symptoms like a flat mood, loss of interest in life, weight changes, and thoughts of suicide. These individuals are at high risk due to being on their own for the first time, making it extremely important for them to have easy access to a healthcare professional like a leader in Towson psychiatry. Luckily, liberation in the way we discuss mental health has allowed more young adults to feel free to find help and talk about their issues.

It’s clear that depression manifests differently in different age groups. Think it’s time that you or your child get help from a leader in Towson psychiatry? Get in touch with Psych Associates of Maryland to schedule an appointment today and get the help you deserve.


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