• Question: Can depression develop at any age?

    Asked by anon-290044 on 27 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: anon

      anon answered on 24 Mar 2021:

      Almost definitely yes! Whilst it can develop in young children, this is quite rare. It seems to peak around adolescence and adulthood and often fluctuates, both between and within people – so some develop depression later or earlier than others and some develop depression a few times in their lifetime at various stages.
      The biggest single factor for developing depression (and a lot of other conditions too!) is stress. So if we think about the lifespan, the first real encounter of significant stress is in young people with school pressure, puberty and finding their independence. When stress creeps up on us, particularly if we have a genetic predisposition to depression, or any mental illness really it can effect us at any age in developing symptoms.
      We also need to think what we mean by depression – almost all of us will have symptoms of low mood, poor sleep and poor eating etc. Without receiving or even being at a level of clinical depression. And again, both types of depression can develop at any age.

    • Photo: Alex Baxendale

      Alex Baxendale answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      It’s definitely very possible, and does happen! Depression can be a response to situations in your life such as the death of a family member, being bullied at school, anxiety over your schoolwork, and general stress. You can also be ‘predisposed’ to depression, this means that you are biologically more likely to be depressed (perhaps depression runs in your family, that would be a genetic cause), this does not mean that you WILL get depression, but it means that you are more likely to be effected by it. Depression itself is an imbalance in the chemicals our brains use to function – these chemicals can control things like our mood (a chemical called Serotonin for example) or how we get excited about things that we want (a chemical called Dopamine) – if our brains are unable to create or use these chemicals then they can result in things like depression or other serious problems. There is no age restriction on how you respond to your environment and the people around it, and you can even be born more likely to become depressed. This is why it’s so important to have supportive friends and family, and have special Psychologists who can help children with depression too!

    • Photo: Harry Piper

      Harry Piper answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      Hi! The other psychologists have done a great job at answering this question so I won’t add anything for that. What I will say is that things like depression can be very difficult to talk about but if its something you are struggling with, its important to talk to someone, whether a professional, a friend, or a family member! It’s also important to remember if you are approached by someone who wants to talk about this, you should try to be understanding and kind. Think about the courage its taken to come forward and the support they are after. πŸ™‚

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      Depression isn’t common in children under 12, but it does occur. There are lots of factors that can contribute to depression in children; for example violence at home, death of family members, parental depression, etc. Talking to a mental health professional benefits even young children.