Happiness is complicated. This is especially true as we grow up or encounter difficult situations, obstacles, and tragedies. We know that we don’t have to be happy all the time. We seek to be happy and satisfied, but most people understand that life contains ebbs and flows. Some people might consider a period of unhappiness as depression. And while in colloquial terms this might have some elements of truth, clinical depression as a mental health issue is very real and can claim many victims. Clinical depression is a serious condition and common among young adults. Here at Transmountain Primary, we not only focus on physical health but also mental health and behavioral health. Our mission is to offer behavioral health services in El Paso that support the community. And as we emerge from an unprecedented time of stress and uncertainty, understanding a little bit more about depression can be useful in reaching out or helping someone you love to seek the help they need.
What is Clinical Depression and How is it Defined?
The concept of depression has entered the public mainstream in the past several decades. Today, most people are relatively aware of the existence of this condition and what it might look like. Parents today are much more well equipped to identify signs of it in their teens and young adults.
The knowledge that an affliction can plague the mind has been around for ages. In Renaissance Europe, it was known as melancholia and said to be caused by too much black bile. During the Christian Middle Ages, serious questions about who was to blame for internal strife became part of the conversation in medical circles. In the mid 20th century, Freud’s theories dominated psychological studies about how repressed feelings and memories could cause mental affliction. The study of this condition has advanced considerably, that much of today’s talk of depression is rooted and founded in the understanding of intricate chemical imbalances in the brain, neurotransmitters, and a deficiency of serotonin.
An Overview of Depression Symptoms
This is a rather complex topic, too vast to discuss in full detail here. We might, however, begin by defining the term as it is most commonly discussed with primary care physicians that might be the first line of defense when identifying someone that might be experiencing clinical depression. Depression can range from mild to severe. It can last for a short time or be prolonged.
There are some telltale signs, as written by the MayoClinic, that might indicate that someone is suffering from clinical depression:
- A person exhibits prolonged feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness
- The person experiences outbursts of emotion triggered by seemingly minor occurrences
- A person loses interest in everything they used to love: activities, work, etc.
- Abnormal sleep: a person will either sleep too little or too much.
- Increased anxiety, agitation, and restlessness
- Changes in appetite. A person will either eat too much or too little.
- A person that frequently thinks of death and suicide.
Physicians use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders before diagnosing someone with clinical depression. It is published by the American Psychological Association and tends to be the guide for identifying serious depression in an individual.
Depression and Young Adults in Recent Years
Even before the pandemic hit, data already existed outlining the correlation between conditions like depression and anxiety among young people. Plenty of theories exist to explain the root causes. Some of these include social media, social isolation, and—in relation to COVID-19— fear of uncertainty.
According to government data from the National Institute of Mental Health:
- An estimated 17.3 million adults in the U.S. experienced at least one depressive episode.
- Adults between the ages of 18-25 had a higher prevalence of depressive episodes.
- Females reported a higher prevalence of these episodes 8.7% of females compared to 5.3% of males.
In recent years, data has shown that youth mental health has seen a considerable spike since 2017. Other findings suggest that in 2017-2018, 19% of adults had experienced a mental illness. And about 60% of those adults did not receive any treatment or help.
Conditions like depression can affect a young person’s life and lead them down a path that stifles their creativity, ambition, social life, and even romantic life. It has considerable consequences in both the physical and mental sense. As we emerge from the pandemic, many experts are seeing the possible ramifications that one year of lockdown may have had on young adults and their state of mind. A CDC online survey revealed that people between the ages of 18-24 are more susceptible to mental health problems associated with the pandemic.
Want to Take the First Step Towards Finding the Right Help? Contact Transmountain Primary
Here at Transmounting Primary, we treat several behavioral health conditions like depression and anxiety. These are common amongst today’s youth. As a primary health clinic, we are on the frontlines of a family’s health—both physical and mental. We offer behavioral health services in El Paso for people of all ages and understand how difficult it can be to take that first step. If you have a young adult in the family that you suspect might be suffering from depression, contact a trusted clinic and learn more about your options.
Looking for a physician you trust with your family’s health? Contact Transmountain Primary today.