How to Deal With Depression in Your 20s
By Shana Lebowitz
Photo by Greatist
Blink 182 said it best: Nobody likes you when you’re 23.
Well, maybe some people like you, but that doesn’t make this time in life any less difficult. On the one hand, the period between ages 18 and 29 is the best ever: Many of us are developing a sense of independence in college, starting new jobs, scouting out the dating scene, or heading off to form new communities in new cities. On the other hand, this time period is often characterized by financial debt, romantic misadventures, loneliness, and a sense of uncertainty about who we are and why we’re here. So it’s little surprise that people in their late teens and 20s are especially vulnerable to feelings of depression.
The positive news is that these emotions are pretty common and typically pass by the time people hit the big 3-0. But depression can still be a serious issue that often requires some kind of treatment. We’re here to explain why depression develops in the first place, and how to address those feelings when they pop up.
Terrible 20s –– The Need-to-Know
At one time, most people didn’t experience their first depressive episode until their late 40s or 50s; today, depression typically first appears around age 25. And while about nine percent of the American adult population suffers from depression, that number is closer to 11 percent among people ages 18 to 24.
Today’s 20-somethings are going through a number of psychosocial and biological experiences that make them especially vulnerable to depression. For one thing, says Dr. Meg Jay, a psychologist who’s written on the importance of the 20s, depression is often triggered by loss. And the period between 18 and 29 is filled with potential losses: breaking up with a significant other, losing friends, losing a job, failing school or not getting into an academic program, and realizing our dream career plans just might not work out. The 20s, Jay says, are a time of uncertainty, which can leave people feeling powerless to change their lives.