Depression & Adults: What to Look For
Adulthood is hard to navigate, because the stressors of everyday life are difficult to keep in balance; responsibilities pull you in every direction at all times. There's kids to take care of, spouses to attend to, friends to stay in touch with, budgets to balance, carpools to arrange, careers to push forward - the list goes on. Becoming an adult and moving through different life stages comes with experiencing the unknown - these major life changes and stresses can lead to depression.
Depression in adults (like with teens), can develop from causes ranging from genetics to brain chemistry to changes in seasons and everything in between. No matter the reason, depression does NOT make you weak and is NOT something you can just get over.
If you or someone you love shows signs of losing interest in things they once cared about, is lethargic for extended periods, and is especially restless or anxious, it may be a few warning signs of depression. If you notice these behaviors, you can help yourself and your loved ones by expressing concern, being a source of support, and helping them to reach out for help.
Here are a few symptoms that someone with depression can exhibit:
Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
Decreases in energy
Problems sleeping - both insomnia and excessive sleeping can be signs of depression
Persistent or frequent fatigue or lack of energy
Changes in appetite and weight
Aches and pains
Suicidal thoughts or actions, or thoughts of death
Remember - these signs are specific to depression in adults. Signs of depression in teens and adolescents look a little different. Depression looks different in different people and at different stages of life - not everyone experiences the same symptoms, or even the same amount of symptoms.
Some forms of depression in adults can be triggered by unique life events or under specific circumstances, including:
One of the most common mental disorders in the country, depression can be brought on by circumstances ranging to genetics to environmental factors to traumatic life events. Some risk factors and causes for depression are:
Serious trauma or stresses
Family history of depression
Side effect of some medications
History of other mental disorders
Drug or alcohol abuse
Depression is a serious mental disorder, and if you or a loved one are seeing the warning signs, reach out to get help and don't ignore it. Untreated depression in adults can lead to prolonged and more acute symptoms, other illnesses, substance abuse and even suicide.
If you're seeing the signs in a loved one, start the conversation in a non-judgmental way. Express your concerns and address the symptoms you're noticing, and offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen with as much as they need. Being a supportive friend or family member is the first step in helping a loved one recover. If you're not sure how to help, click here for a few ways you can be there for someone showing anxiety, one of the symptoms of depression.
If you yourself are experiencing these symptoms, reach out to your loved ones and let them be that support for you. No matter what, the well-being of you and your loved ones is the most important thing in the world.
I offer specific therapy services for adults, and would love to be a part of your support system. You can also check out a few more of my resources below to help cope with stress management and anxiety: