Skip to Main Content

Treatment for Depression for Young Adults

Depression is much more than feeling sad. There are different levels of severity and different forms of depression; however, depression is treatable, and many people who have recovered from depression have lived happy and healthy lives.

A mother hugging her teenage son while facing the camera.

We’re here to help 24/7

What is depression?

What does depression in young adults look like?

Young adults are at a time in their lives where they may be experiencing a lot of stress related to work, school, money, relationships, or family.

On top of the many challenges that young adults face, individuals ages 18 to 25 are the group most affected by mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression, also referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a serious yet common mood disorder.

Icon Shield Check
Verify Insurance
We accept all major insurance and it only takes minutes to verify.

What are the symptoms and signs of depression in young adults?

Depression can affect all aspects of a young adult’s life, including how they feel, think, and act. It can make it very difficult to function on a day-to-day basis.

A young adult with depression may lose interest in things they used to enjoy, display changes in their eating and sleeping habits, have low energy, or have difficulty concentrating or remembering things.

Common signs and symptoms of depression can include:

Loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to once enjoy
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
Moving or talking slowly
Loss of energy
Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
Feeling restless
Unexplainable aches, pains, or headaches that don’t go away with treatment
Self-harming behaviors or suicidal thoughts
Background Image
A white location icon on a blue background.

View Our Treatment Locations

Sandstone Care offers age-specific, individualized, and evidence-based treatment programs that help you regain control of your life and achieve lasting recovery.

What is the main cause of depression among young adults?

The development of depression in young adults can stem from a number of different causes.

Research suggests that the cause of depression can be from various genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Risk factors for depression can include:

  • Family history of depression
  • Stress or trauma
  • Physical illness or medications

Depression also co-occurs with other illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.

Peter King explains Co Occurring Disorders
What causes depression?
what causes trauma
The most common mental health disorders in young adults

Are young adults more likely to be depressed?

Younger people are more vulnerable to mental illnesses like depression or anxiety.

The brain is going through major development throughout a person’s mid-twenties. The affected parts of the brain are responsible for functions like emotion regulation, impulse control, and decision-making.

This makes young adults more susceptible to developing mental illnesses and using unhealthy mechanisms as a way to cope.

What is the most common cause of depression in young adults?

Many factors can contribute to the development of depression in young adults.

Common causes of depression in young adults can include:

  • Experiencing traumatic or stressful life events
  • A history of depression in your family
  • Low self-esteem, negative body image
  • Social media use among young adults may also play a role in the high prevalence of mental illness among young adults.

While social media was designed to ease communication and connect with others, it almost does the opposite.

Many young people feel pressure to hold themselves to the standards set by social media and compare their lives to others. Yet, many figures on social media only portray the good parts of their life and create unrealistic standards.

More time on social media means less time spent outside and making in-person connections.

Social interaction plays a major role in the mental well-being of young adults.

Young Man Thinking
Background Image

We’re available 7 days a week to help answer any questions you may have.

man thinking

How do I know if I need depression treatment?

When negative thoughts or feelings affect your life over time, it may be time to reach out for professional help.

For example, persistent depressive disorder involves a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person may experience episodes of major depression followed by less severe symptoms.

Seasonal affective disorder involves depression during the winter but usually subsides during spring and summer.

If you believe you or a loved one may have depression, it is important to reach out to your health care provider to receive a proper diagnosis.

Can you completely treat depression?

There is no cure for depression, but various treatment options are available for young adults and anyone struggling with mental illness.

Treatments can help make the symptoms of depression more manageable, improving a person’s quality of life.

Through behavioral therapies, young people can learn healthy coping mechanisms and life skills needed to live a healthy, balanced, and sustainable life.

Background Image

Take the Quiz

See if you or a loved one needs substance use or mental health support

Developed by Chief Clinical Officer Sarah Fletcher LPC

What are the main ways to treat depression?

Depression is commonly treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Antidepressants are medications that are used to treat depression. They target your brain chemicals that control mood or stress. It is important to note that for young people under the age of 25, antidepressants may cause suicidal thoughts, especially in the first few weeks of treatment. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to your doctor and seek help.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a form of psychotherapy or talk therapy that helps identify negative thoughts and feelings that may lead to destructive behaviors.

CBT can help young adults build healthy skills, techniques, and coping mechanisms.

CBT can be used in individual and group sessions and is one of the most commonly used evidence-based treatments for young adults with substance use and mental health disorders.

Icon Chat Heart
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is another form of psychotherapy that was originally used to treat people who were chronically suicidal or diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

DBT is currently recognized as an effective approach for a variety of different mental disorders.

DBT focuses on the balance of acceptance and change and can be broken down into four main skills: mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

DBT can be especially helpful for young adults because it targets the unique circumstances, thoughts, and emotions that can lead them to unhealthy coping choices.

Small Group Sizes
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapy, or Interpersonal psychotherapy, is a time-limited treatment for mood disorders.

IPT examines how personal relationships can contribute to depression.

The goal of interpersonal therapy is to learn how to communicate and interact with others and how interpersonal problems are affecting your depression.

Age-Specific Care
Group Therapy

Group therapy can play a significant role in the treatment of young adult depression.

Symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sadness. These feelings can commonly cause people to isolate themselves and feel alone. Often, it’s hard to imagine that someone would understand what they are going through.

Group therapy can help by giving individuals a safe space to share their experiences, challenges, and feelings. Through sharing, they can learn and relate to one another and build connections with people who may have similar experiences.

The Family Component
Family Therapy

Family involvement is an important part of any mental illness treatment as well.

When any person in a family is struggling with a mental illness like depression, it affects everyone. It may be difficult to communicate, problem-solve, and understand how to help each other.

Family therapy can help the whole family learn important skills and techniques to support one another.

Digital illustration of a man figure depressed

What are the Dangers of depression?

When depression goes untreated, it can lead to a number of serious negative effects on a person’s health.

Untreated depression can put young adults more at risk of substance abuse and developing substance use disorders and can also be associated with cognitive problems such as memory loss.

Physical problems stemming from depression include headaches, body aches, and pain that may not go away even with medication.

Depression may also play a role in eating habits. It can affect appetite and contribute to malnutrition.

It can cause someone to feel extremely isolated, alone, sad, and lead to a spiral of negative thoughts. Young people with depression are at a greater risk for suicide.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts or imminent danger, call 911.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available at 988, 24 hours a day.


Our continuum of care

We provide a full spectrum of treatment programs to meet your unique situation and needs.

Icon House Heart
Residential Extended Care

Rehab for young adults includes inpatient assessment and residential extended care which combines recovery living with participation in our full continuum of care.
Sandstone Care offers a Residential Extended Care program for young adults ages 18 to 30. At Residential treatment, young people can live in a therapeutic, recovery-focused setting while receiving mental health treatment support.
Residential treatment is one of the highest levels of care and provides 24-hour care and support for those struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse, and addiction.

LocationsColoradoMaryland, Virginia

Icon Hands Heart
Day treatment (PHP)

Young Adult Day Treatment, also known as Partial Hospitalization Program, is a highly structured level of care designed for young adults struggling with addiction or mental health.
Sandstone Care’s Day Treatment program offers 25 hours of weekly programming to help young adults heal and become more like the person they want to be.

Individuals in day treatment will engage in group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, and participate in our academic and vocational component.

LocationsColoradoVirginia, and Washington D.C. Area

Icon Mental Health
Young adult intensive outpatient (IOP)

Our IOP is a longer-term program that lasts around 8 to 12 weeks.

IOP can be helpful for young adults who are struggling with substance abuse and any co-occurring mental health disorders.

Along with group and individual therapy, Sandstone Care offers psychiatric consultations, multi-family group therapy, academic support, vocational training, medication management, and family therapy.

Our IOP program is also offered virtually to young adults who may have transportation issues, may not live close to a treatment center, or have medical concerns that can affect attending in-person treatment.


Can depression be cured in young adults?

Depression cannot be cured but can be treated with several different therapies.


Is depression permanent or temporary?

Different types of depression can last for different lengths of time.
There is no cure for depression, but treatment can help make the symptoms more manageable and improve a person’s quality of life.

For many people, depression is a lifelong illness, but it may fluctuate over time.


What is the first-line treatment for adolescent depression?

A lot of times, the treatment approach for adolescent depression will start with a form of psychotherapy.
Talk therapy can help children identify and understand difficult emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

If medication is needed, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are typically the first-line medication for depression in children and adolescents.

SSRIs can help to manage symptoms of depression because it works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain.

Teenager experiencing peer pressure
Background Image

Young adults ages 18 to 25 are the most affected by depression.

Depression treatment typically involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Sandstone Care supports teens and young adults with substance use and mental health disorders.

Call (888) 850-1890 Verify Insurance

Depression Treatment Centers

You don’t have to be under the shadow of depression anymore.

View All of Our Locations

One on One Happy Therapist Discussion at Center

Mental Health Richmond VA

4880 Sadler Rd., Glen Allen, Virginia, 23060

(804) 494-6144
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health

Tinley Park Mental Health Center

16325 S Harlem Ave #260, Tinley Park, Illinois, 60477

(708) 905-2509
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health

Naperville Mental Health

8140 S. Cass Ave Suite B, Darien, Illinois, 60561

(331) 246-1162
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health
Sandstone Care's Mental Health Center in Fairfax Virginia

Fairfax Mental Health Center

5400 Shawnee Rd #105, Alexandria, Virginia, 22312

(571) 946-5802
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health
A geometric graphic of a white mountain outline.

The Continuum of Care

Care for wherever you are in your journey.

Access a full range of treatments for mental health and substance use disorders. Whether you need a safe transitional living community, inpatient care, or outpatient therapy, we have a program to help.

Learn more about levels of care

5-21 days of 24/7 on-site medical supervision.

Our Medically-Assisted Detox and Inpatient Center offers private rooms and 24/7 medically supervised care to support a safe recovery from drugs and alcohol, followed by comprehensive treatment that addresses your physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs.

A clinician examining a patient at Virginia Medical Detox Center.
Detox Explained

2-6 Months

Our Transitional Living Program combines the structure of treatment and group living, with the freedom of living away from home.

This level of care is for young adults (18-30) who are not quite ready to heal from home. A safe and supportive living environment integrated with a PHP or IOP level of care so you learn life skills and healthy coping mechanisms in an environment that’s set up for your success.

Group outside in Sandstone Care
Transitional Living Overview

2-4 weeks of on-site day treatment.

Our Young Adult Day Treatment Program, also known as Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), is a highly structured level of care for young adults that offers five days of robust programming a week.

Our two distinct mental health and substance use tracks help young adults to stabilize, begin to understand their mental health and/or addiction struggles, and heal from them. We strive to help our clients become more like the person they want to be without using negative coping strategies or substances to get there.

Woman explaining treatment at Sandstone Care
Day Treatment Explained

8-12 weeks of on-site or virtual treatment.

Our Young Adult IOP, or Intensive Outpatient Program, offers two distinct tracks to address young adult needs, each track consisting of 3-4 days of weekly programming.

In our mood disorder track, we are able to focus on mental health, depression, trauma, and anxiety. In our dual diagnosis track, we are able to support young adults with substance use and mental health challenges. Each focuses on developing positive social, academic, and vocational habits while continuing with their job or school responsibilities.

Seated woman explaining IOP at Sandstone Care
Intensive Outpatient Program Explained


You have questions. We have answers.

Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. Please reach out to us if you have any additional questions. We are here to help in any way we can.

The National Health Interview Survey reports that the percentage of adults who experienced any symptoms of depression was the highest among individuals ages 18 to 29.

Young adults are faced with many challenges during their early adult years.

Many young adults are transitioning into a career, new schools, moving out, and developing new relationships, among many other things. They are also at a time when they are figuring out a sense of identity.

Young adults experience a number of different emotions and have to juggle multiple responsibilities at once.

With all these stressors, it can be difficult to cope and understand how to navigate everything.

Being overwhelmed can start to feel lonely, and many young people may not know how to talk about it or who to talk to.

Although mental illness has the highest prevalence among young people, it can be hard to understand that someone else would know how they feel. This can lead a person to isolate themselves and bottle everything up.

By building healthy coping mechanisms and habits, young adults can better communicate and support one another and feel more comfortable reaching out for help when they need it.

The most effective treatment for adolescent depression is psychotherapy.

If psychotherapy doesn’t produce the wanted results, medication is often prescribed in addition to behavioral therapy.

There is no quick fix for depression.

Antidepressants can take a few weeks to take effect. Treatment for depression is a process that is specific to the individual and can vary in length of time.

Different types of antidepressants can have different side effects.

However, common side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight changes

Especially in individuals under the age of 25, an increased risk of suicidal thoughts is found to be associated with antidepressants. This is most common in the first few weeks of beginning antidepressants.

However, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, it is important to call your doctor, reach out for help, or the National Suicide Lifeline.

Nutrition plays a big role in a person’s overall physical and mental well-being.

According to Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Vitamin D may aid in the improvement of depressive symptoms.

However, more research is needed on the efficacy of vitamins and minerals as a natural therapy for depression.

It is important to consult with your doctor if you are planning on trying any natural vitamins or supplements.

There are some alternatives to taking antidepressants in managing the symptoms of depression.

Some things that can help promote stress relief, relaxation, and mindfulness, can include:

  • Going outside
  • Getting exercise
  • Practicing mindfulness techniques: slow breathing, meditation, journaling
  • Going to therapy

If you believe you or a loved one may need depression treatment, it is important to reach out for professional help so they can help create an individualized treatment plan that works for your needs.

Some people have discussed natural remedies such as St. John‘s wort as a treatment for depression. However, the FDA has not approved its use as over-the-counter or prescription medicine for depression, and there are serious concerns over its safety.

Other natural supplements like omega-3 fatty acids are also being researched for their effectiveness and safety in treating depression.

Background Image
Young black man standing in front of a blue background.

Let’s Take the Next Steps Together

We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.