According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 10.9% of young adults ages 18 to 25 (3.7 million young adults in total) had a major depressive episode in 2016. These 3.7 million young adults suffered symptoms such as pervasive sadness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and disturbances in sleep and appetite for a minimum of a two-week period. The same survey revealed that about 60% of patients 18 or older with any mental illness did not receive any treatment for their mental illness. This concerning statistic reveals that although many young adults across the country need help for depression, an overwhelming amount are not getting it.
Common Causes of Depression in Young Adults
Being a young adult can be difficult. Many different factors can contribute to depression in young adults, but each person is different and there is not always a clear and direct cause for every patient. However, there are several common aspects of young adulthood that can contribute to depression.
Fully developed adults and young adults have different brains. The brain’s structural foundation has been established during adolescence, but neuron (brain cell) connections and functioning are still being made and restructured in a substantial way until a person is in their mid-20’s. In addition, young adults experience changes in hormone and neurotransmitter levels that affect mood.
High Levels of Stress and Anxiety in the Community
Depression is associated with stress, which has its own physiological consequences that triggers chemical reactions and changes in the body that can be long-lasting, especially if the stress is chronic. Common causes of stress in young people include peer pressure, being bullied, moving to a new place, problems at school or work, and unrealistic expectations from themselves, family, friends, or culture. Furthermore, social media is growing in popularity, and teens are all over it. Unfortunately, recent studies have linked social media use to depression in young adults.
Trauma in Early Life
Certain events, such as early losses and emotional trauma, may leave individuals more vulnerable to developing depression later in life. Many researchers believe that early trauma causes subtle changes in brain function that accounts for symptoms of depression. Especially for people without a solid support system, attempting to deal with prior losses and significant traumatic experiences may be incredibly difficult and lead to depression.
Recent scientific studies have indicated that depression can be traced to one’s genes. British researchers have isolated a gene for depression, and hormone levels and certain neurotransmitters are linked to depression as well. This is not to say that a single gene causes depression or that having any particular gene means one will suffer from depression, but rather that genetic makeup plays a part in depression in young adults.
Mental Health Resources for Young Adults
In order to prevent depression in young adults or to help those young adults already suffering, it’s important to seek help and utilize the resources available.
- Active Minds: This fantastic organization seeks to destigmatize conversation about mental health and take action against mental health issues in young adults through activism, education, support, and research.
- JED Foundation: The JED Foundation seeks to promote mental health and prevent suicide in college students, and they provide a lot of resources for the transition to college and mental health support.
- National Alliance on Mental Health: This website provides guides and answers major questions about all realms of mental health.
Treating Depression in Young Adults
Young people are often resistant to seeking treatment for various reasons, including stigma, cost, and lack of information about what depression actually is. Some believe that treatment will not work for them, since some treatments don’t have the best success rates. Antidepressant medications, for example, do not adequately help in about a third of the people who take them for depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is one possible solution to help treat depression in young adults. It is a particularly attractive treatment option for young people because this population often especially wants to avoid side effects such as weight gain, sedation, and sexual dysfunction that are so common with antidepressant medications. TMS is a non-invasive form of treatment during which the patient is entirely awake. TMS is safe and effective to treat depression in young adults and can be an excellent alternative to antidepressant medications.
Contact Mid City TMS to Treat Depression in Young Adults
If you or a young adult in your life is interested in TMS treatment, consider making an appointment with Mid City TMS. Come in today to learn about our treatment for depression in young adults. Our New York City TMS center is conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan on Madison Avenue, and we are open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Friday. Give us a call at 212-517-1867 or contact us today.