Do you need help managing depression in your 20s?
Young adults often face a variety of overwhelming challenges, including finding a job after school, balancing your finances, or maintaining your relationships. If you’re not careful, these challenges can take an emotional toll and eventually develop into depression if ignored.
If you suspect you may be depressed, it’s important not to ignore how you feel.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most common symptoms of depression as well as how to manage depression in your 20s.
How to Manage Depression in Your 20s
While it is normal to experience the ups and downs of life as they accompany the initial journey of adulthood, becoming stuck in a low period during your 20’s can threaten some major setbacks.
For many, this period is one of finishing education, building a career, or starting a family. The lack of motivation and inability to problem solve which so often accompany episodes of depression can result in missed opportunities and damaged relationships.
Watching these negative consequences occur – and feeling helpless to prevent them – can produce a vicious cycle of negativity.
Depression can breed more depression.
It is important for young adults to both recognize, and manage, their symptoms of depression as quickly and effectively as possible.
Here’s how to manage depression in your 20s …
Tips for Managing Depression
First and foremost, make sure that you are not beating yourself up over feeling depressed.
Depression feeds on this type of self-debasement, and you won’t be doing yourself any favors to be guilting yourself over lack of motivation. While maintaining a mindset of being kind to yourself, the following are some other avenues to explore.
Seek Professional Guidance
A diagnosis of depression by a professional mental health provider may be the first step you want to take. Having your experience validated and defined as bona fide depression can take some of the confusion and mystery out of the equation.
Psychiatrists can assist you with finding a medication to take the edge off of your symptoms, and mental health therapists or psychologists can help you to explore some of the root causes and mental blocks that may be contributing.
Learn more about depression treatment for young adults.
The experiencing of many negative mental health symptoms involves a person spending too much time thinking about the past or future.
The past is unchangeable, while the future is unknown. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present. The present moment is the only reality which we can have any real control over, particularly through the decisions which we are making in the now.
Consider researching mindfulness techniques on the internet, or attending a local workshop, and then applying the concepts during your daily routine.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
When our physical bodies are healthy, our mood tends to follow.
People in depression are often tempted to neglect their physical health. Along with the negative effects of dysregulated sleep often come the tendencies to refrain from exercise or to eat improperly. Even if you find that you are not able to maintain all of your interests and hobbies while experiencing depression, make the extra effort to continue to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine.
The efforts can pay off in the form of a less severe episode.
Causes of Depression
Chemical imbalances are the most frequently attributed cause of depression, as the myriad of medications that are prescribed for depression can attest.
More in-depth research has even linked the tendency toward depression to physical factors such as neuron structure and DNA arrangement.
When viewed from a medical model, depression is something that can be triggered more easily in someone who has a genetic propensity to experience it.
Non-biological causes of depression are also areas for study. Young adults of our times are in a unique life position.
While puberty was once considered the cue for setting out on one’s own, young adults of today are staying home much longer. As of 2017, it has been estimated that up to one-third of young adults remain at home through their 20’s, postponing that inevitable journey of self-reliance. The struggle between dependency and self-efficacy which arises as a result of this arrangement can become a contributing factor in a type of episode known as existential depression.
A person in existential depression is distressed about the meaning of life and confused about the course that life is supposed to take.
Depression is also something that can manifest after a traumatic life event.
What starts out as a normal response to loss or grief can progress into a maladaptive approach toward daily living. While the initial experience of grief is very similar to the symptoms of depression, a problem arises when the stages of grief are not eventually resolved, and when the quality of life is indefinitely impaired.
Symptoms of Depression
A sense of hopelessness and lack of optimism about the future is the symptom most commonly associated with depression.
A person in depression can describe it as being trapped inside thick darkness, without the ability to see any way out. Friends and loved ones can offer assistance and advice, but the depressed person cannot find the motivation to heed their admonitions. It may feel impossible to take the steps that are necessary or seem pointless to even try.
Along with the experience of hopelessness often comes a lack of desire to participate in activities that were once enjoyable.
Hobbies and interests can lose their appeal, as the weight of the depression prevents the sufferer from anticipating that the activities will bring any relief. A person in depression may begin to withdraw from social engagements or obligations and may begin to isolate from others.
Sleep disturbances and depression have a complex relationship, with the presence of one often feeding into the other. A study of young adults has shown that up to 50% of those reporting a lingering problem of insomnia will go on to develop an episode of major depression.
Existing depression can also produce hypersomnia, with 40% of depressed young adults reporting that they oversleep. Whether you are having a problem with sleeping too much, or not enough, it pays to be on alert for spotting any other tell-tale signs of depression.
There are physical symptoms of depression, as well. A depressed person can suffer from an all-around lack of energy to the point that he or she feels physically fatigued. The depression can be accompanied by weight fluctuations, with or without changes in eating behaviors. The immune system can be compromised, resulting in more frequent illnesses.
Libido can decrease, and tendencies to engage in substance abuse can increase.
Now that you know how to manage depression in your 20s, you can move forward with confidence.
If you feel you may have some form of depression, it’s in your best interest not to ignore it. Ignoring mental health conditions can sometimes result in the condition becoming worse or even developing into additional issues.
Contact a mental health professional for information today.