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Young adults and depression
Whether they're stressing out over landing a job, finding a mate or repaying student loans, 20-somethings have plenty on their plate that could bring their mood down.
Although the 20s are typically considered the years of exploration and having fun, depression in young adults is not uncommon.
Young adults are saying goodbye to childhood and adolescence, and trying to make their own way while dealing with frequent change and uncertainty, which could trigger feelings of sadness and irritability.
Going off into the world, establishing a clear identity, developing a capacity for intimate relationships, and forming a foundation to build a future career and adult life are all part of the challenges to people in their 20s that could make them vulnerable to depression, said Dr. Stuart Goldman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Boston Children's Hospital. [5 Controversial Mental Health Treatments]
What's more, those in their early 20s are dealing with these challenges before their brain is fully mature. The prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain involved in reasoning and controlling impulses — finishes developing about age 25.
Most people who have a genetic vulnerability to depression, typically experience their first episode of the condition between ages 14 and 24, Goldman said. "The vast majority of people with a depressive episode in this age group will have a recurrence within five years of the first episode," he said, reflecting the recurrent nature of the illness.
To determine whether a 20-something might be depressed, Goldman described some common signs and symptoms in this age group.
A lack of enjoymentSlide 2 of 15
A lack of enjoymentSlide 3 of 15
Low energySlide 4 of 15
Low energySlide 5 of 15
Reduced concentrationSlide 6 of 15
Reduced concentrationSlide 7 of 15
Early morning awakeningsSlide 8 of 15