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If you’re a young adult, you’re at a tough stage of life. You may be juggling starting your career, managing your finances, navigating a romantic relationship or simply trying to make it on your own for the first time. These things aren’t easy to do, and they don’t always work out right away. So if you feel down from time to time, that’s normal. Usually, those feelings of being down go away over time. But if they persist for an inordinate amount of time, that may be a sign that it’s time to look into treatment.
If you’ve been feeling down for a long period of time, if you’ve struggled to function in your daily life because of your feelings, or if you’ve had thoughts of ending your life, you need to reach out and get help as soon as possible. Know that there are people who care about you and can effectively help you with your depression so you can move on and get back to living a full, healthy life.
Depression goes further than just feeling sad. It’s a mental illness that affects the way you think, feel and act. It causes you to persistently feel blue or numb, and it hinders your ability to live a normal life. Though there are different levels of severity, it usually includes symptoms such as feelings of sadness or worthlessness, a loss of interest in your normal activities and general lethargy. You might also experience a dramatic change in eating or sleeping patterns – that is, significantly more or less of either of these activities. The good news is that depression is treatable. Many people who struggle with depression have recovered and have gone on to live happy, successful lives.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world. A recent survey by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that nearly 7 percent of American adults had an episode of depression in the previous year. But depression is an even more serious problem for young adults than for other adults. The same survey found that the age range with the highest prevalence of depression was young adults – at nearly 11 percent. That’s one out of every 10 young adults.
So what causes depression? Researchers aren’t sure, but they have identified several factors that make certain people more likely to suffer from it.
Everyone feels sad from time to time, but if any of the following symptoms remain persistent, you may be depressed:
People with depression can find it more challenging to find satisfaction in their relationships, as they may struggle with insecurities and lack the fully developed problem-solving skills necessary to work through relationship conflicts in constructive ways. They may feel moody, irritable or feel like no one understands them, leading to even more withdrawal and isolation. If these issues aren’t sorted out earlier on, it’s also easy to carry them into adulthood.
People are social beings, and maintaining meaningful relationships with others is an essential facet of the human experience. Carrying out healthy romantic partnerships is an important skill to develop in young adulthood – which is why diagnosing and learning to manage depression in a relationship context is so beneficial for young people.
Heading off to college is an exciting time to be sure, but it’s not without its share of challenges: some students find themselves struggling emotionally as they learn to juggle their workload, balance a budget and get along with new roommates, all while being away from home for the first time. While it’s totally normal for this new set of challenges to cause stress during a transitional phase, it can sometimes progress beyond the occasional university blues and develop into symptoms of depression.
If you struggle with depression, take this into account when planning your college experience. Visit the campus beforehand to familiarize yourself with it. Identify available support systems like student groups and counseling resources, and proactively seek out ways to make friends and get involved in campus life to minimize your sense of isolation.
While there will undoubtedly be good days and bad days, there are some simple things you can do to manage your depression symptoms and feel as good as you can feel from day to day. Though you may not always feel like it, try to do these as regularly as possible. You’ll be surprised at what a difference a few small changes can make.
One of the main symptoms of depression is that it causes you to sleep too little or too much, which has a huge impact on your mood. Try to establish a normal circadian rhythm: Keep a regular bedtime and do wind-down activities like reading, gentle stretching or journaling before bed. Dim the lights and turn off electronics in your room to signal your brain that it’s time to sleep. Open your blinds and flood your room with natural light when you first wake up, which will make it much easier to get your day started on those days when it feels tough.
Smoking, drinking and drug use are connected to depression. By avoiding or reducing alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, you’ll decrease the likelihood that depression will strike.
Talk to a parent, trusted friend or counselor about how you’re feeling; get outside, take some deep breaths and feel the sun shine on your skin; try practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation to form a healthier relationship with your thoughts.
When you’re depressed, it’s easy to let your diet slip or eat emotionally. But what you eat plays a huge role in how you feel, and mood foods like healthy fats can even improve your brain function. If eating healthy is a challenge for you, try stocking your fridge with balanced, pre-prepped meals and nutritious snacks that are easy to reach for even if you’re low on energy.
Although depression can affect anyone, people who are worried that they could become a victim of depression have several things that they can do to make it less likely.
If you’re showing signs of depression, here are some steps you can take:
Our team of compassionate counselors accepts you completely, just as you are. You’ll feel welcome and right at home in our warm, open environment. Our staff will show you the care you need, and we’re at the ready seven days a week to answer questions and offer guidance as to how to best deal with your unique situation. Give us a call today at 888-850-1890.