The Markers of Depression

The Markers of Depression

depressionMany people assume that depression is a black-and-white issue. They are taught that there is a certain set of symptoms and that the mental health disorder functions similarly in anyone who carries the diagnosis. The truth is that depression can look very different in different patients. For some, it may be a minor bump in the road; for others, it can be disabling for years. For still others, it comes and goes. Some people become overtired and can’t seem to get out of bed while others can’t sleep and feel extremely agitated. All of these different clinical pictures have produced a number of subtypes of depression including:

  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Depression with melancholic features
  • Depression with atypical features
  • Depression with psychotic features
  • Depression with catatonic features
  • Depression with postpartum features
  • Depression with seasonal onset

A new study revealed that depression may also vary depending on age. Recent findings published in the journal Clinical Psychological Sciences discussed a longitudinal study analyzing depression across four separate developmental age brackets that included:

  • Childhood: 5 to 12.9 years old
  • Adolescence: 13 to 17.9 years old
  • Emerging Adulthood: 18 to 23.9 years old
  • Adulthood: 24 to 30 years old

Patterns of Depression in Different Developmental Stages

To better understand the developmental course of major depressive disorder (MDD), Paul Rohde of the Oregon Research Institute and his team studied data from the Oregon Adolescent Depression Project in order to expand the knowledge of how major depressive disorder (MDD) expresses itself throughout subsequent life phases. Of the 816 subjects, just over half had experienced at least one episode of MDD by their 30th birthday. Of those who had experienced MDD, 53 percent had at least one additional episode by the age of 30.

The researchers found that childhood incidence of MDD was lower than any other stage of development, but when a child did have an episode, it lasted far longer than it did with older individuals. Females were more likely than males to experience MDD, but the rates of recurrent episodes were similar between genders. Once MDD was experienced in one developmental period, it increased the risk in other stages. In addition, across all phases, MDD was paired with higher rates of both anxiety and substance abuse issues.

Teens With Depression at Highest Risk of Suicide

Both the emerging adult and adult phases had comparable rates of attempted suicide, whereas the adolescent phase brought with it a marked increase in suicidal actions. Overall, nearly one-fifth of the subjects with a history of MDD admitted to a suicide attempt by the time they were 30 years old.

If you know someone of any age struggling with depression, professional help is available. Contact one of our highly trained counselors to discuss all the options for you or your loved one. Full recovery is possible. Call today.