Depressions can take place at any age. Infants can have depression, as can people well into their second century on earth.
About six million American children under twelve have a clinical depression, much of it unrecognized and untreated. Sometimes behavior diagnosed as an Attention Deficit Disorder (children who are easily distracted, hyperactive, and have difficulty paying attention) is, in fact, depression.
One in twenty adolescents suffers from depression. Hormonal changes, emerging identity crises, peer pressure, sexual issues, and the increased responsibility of approaching adulthood can contribute to depression. Tragically, the suicide rate among teenagers has almost tripled in one generation.
The generation from eighteen to thirty sometimes called Generation-X realizes it may be the first generation in the history of the United States to be less affluent than the generation before. Many who make up Generation-X are also keenly aware of the condition of the country and planet being passed on to them. Understandably, many are not happy about it. For some individuals, this unhappiness deepens into a depression causing additonal stress to the body and skin.
The ubiquitous baby boomers--some in their forties, some in their fifties have become their parents. All the problems, crises, and attitudes they despised in their parents they now observe in themselves. In addition, the post-war generation is discovering that youth is not eternal. Their fading looks and sagging skin reveal whom they have become externally. All of this leads to what has been dubbed the Baby Boomer Blues.
People over sixty-five are four times more likely to experience depression than the general population. Tragically, many elderly people are believed to have early stages of senility or Alzheimer's disease when, in fact, they have a treatable depression.
Too often, the symptoms of depression from physical aches and pains to poor memory--are written off as "just growing old." While certain physical and mental problems may arise due to aging, they may also be symptoms of depression that should be carefully evaluated by a physician. It is never normal to feel unhappy day after day, simply because you're growing older.
The National Institutes for Health have free pamphlets for depression written for various age groups. Please call 1-800-421-4211 for your copy.
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