college sadness

How to deal with depression in your 20s

The band Blink 182 said it best: Nobody likes you when you’re 23.

The period between ages 18 and 29 is the best ever: Many of us are developing a sense of independence in college, starting new jobs, scouting out the dating scene, or heading off to form new communities in new cities. On the other hand, this period is often characterized by financial woes, romantic misadventures, loneliness, and a sense of uncertainty about who we are and why we’re here. So it’s little surprise that people in their 20s and late teens are especially vulnerable to feelings of depression.

Terrible 20s

At one time, most people didn’t experience their first depressive episode until their late 40s or 50s; today, depression typically first appears around age 25.

Today’s 20-somethings are going through a number of psychosocial and biological experiences that make them especially vulnerable to depression. Depression is often triggered by loss and the period between 18 and 29 is filled with many potential losses: break ups with a significant other, losing friends, losing a job, failing school or not getting into an academic program.

Biological factors also come into play. Scientists have noted that the frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for planning and reasoning, doesn’t fully develop until mid-20s. This means 20-somethings are faced with making some huge decisions when their brains haven’t reached full cognitive capacity.

In some cases, 20-somethings might not realize certain lifestyle factors that may contribute to depressive symptoms. Binge drinking tends to be most common and intense in people ages 18 to 24.

Your action plan

There’s a range of practical ways to alleviate feelings of depression. This list certainly doesn’t include every way, but it does highlight some of the most effective strategies for people of any age.

  • Phone a friend or family member
  • Get a move on with exercise
  • Hit the hay
  • Zen out with some yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, or Qigong
  • Try some herbal supplements
  • Chow down on a number of nutrients and food groups
  • Talk it out and try psychotherapy
  • Take antidepressants if the situation is appropriate

The Takeaway

Despite the pain it may cause, depression can actually be a useful signal that something in our lives needs to change; whether it’s a relationship, job, or some other aspect. Though it may be difficult to admit that we’re depressed, there are plenty of people, resources, and actions that we can take in order to help us live healthy, happy lives long after our 20s are over.

 

Resource: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2013/10/22/deal-depression-in-your-20s/3149485/

 

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Oct 31, 2013
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College Depression: What Parents Need to Know

Helping your child make the transition from high school to college can be difficult. Know how to identify whether your child is having a hard time dealing with this new stage in life, and figure out what you can do to help.

 

What is college depression and why are college students vulnerable to it?

Depression is an illness that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. College depression is depression that begins during college.

 

Students face many challenges in college. Pressures and anxieties can cause them to feel overwhelmed, and being in a new environment can make them homesick. They’re also adapting to a new schedule and workload and figuring out how to belong. Dealing with these changes during the transition from adolescence to adulthood can trigger or unmask depression in young adults.

 

What are the impacts of college depression?

Depression during college has been linked to:

  • Impaired academic performance
  • Smoking
  • Risky behaviors related to alcohol abuse, such as having unsafe sex

What are the signs that a student is dealing with college depression?

Untreated depressions interferes with normal day-to-day life. Signs and symptoms of this include:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy
  • Crying spells for no reason
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide

Resource: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/college-depression/MY01384

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Sep 23, 2013
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