Depression is not a condition that plays favorites. It can affect teenagers, senior citizens and everyone in between. Although the syndrome is the same, the symptoms and manifestations are very different.
Most people expect someone who is depressed to act sad; but afflicted adolescents and teens usually appear irritable or hostile, and often complain of aches and pains throughout the body. Of course, anyone who has a teenager knows that he will go through phases of irritability and hostility through the normal process of aging, but depression will take it to an extreme. If the condition is ignored, the results can be devastating, but some red flags may be a change in her behavior toward school or other activities that she previously enjoyed; a marked drop in grades; or a general disinterest to things going on around him. The condition could extend further into drug abuse, alcoholism or worse—suicide or homicide. It may seem scary, but teenage depression is highly treatable once the problem is recognized.
What about older adults? Sometimes the “golden years” aren’t so golden after all. As life marches on, it can take a toll on older adults when it comes to family, friends and health. Some may find themselves grieving a spouse and suddenly finding himself alone; deteriorating physically resulting in dependency on others; and often without a strong support system as offspring have moved away or have families of their own to contend with. This difficult condition can sometimes be misread as loneliness or a general sense of not feeling well, but depression is NOT a normal part of getting older. If left unrecognized and untreated, it can lead to quickly deteriorating health, a high mortality rate and even suicide.
Recognition is always the key to beating depression. It is not a condition that discriminates; it can affect everyone. Though it presents itself differently in distinct age groups and sexes, the results can ultimately be tragic. If you suspect someone you care about is suffering, get help. It never hurts to be proactive.