Depression through the Different Developmental Stages

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Depression is a condition that persists over time and increases in intensity that can impair one’s ability to live the way they want to. Within each developmental stage, the signs and causes of depression are different. The three developmental stages that are being discussed are childhood, adolescence and the elderly.

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The difference in depression for each developmental stage is different. For childhood depression, children as young as four are being diagnosed with depression. The episodes are shorter with more physical symptoms because children cannot always verbalize their feelings. With adolescences, they feel physical changes within themselves and their bodies, separation from parents or guardians, social network, education goals, and sexual orientation. Those who suffer depression late in life often describe a sense of emptiness and that the world is closing in on them.

Some of the causes linked to childhood depression are biological, genetic, psycho social causes. Depression runs in families, children have about 20% chance of developing depression if one or more members of their family has been experienced depression. Other causes for childhood depression are social and cultural reasons, bullying, technology, internet, and poverty. Those causes can also be seen for adolescence depression as well. But teenagers are also trying to be liked everyone else and fit in the right crowd. Adults just view it as a phase they are going through. Depression in the elderly may be as they are get older that they feel like they are no longer needed, they may have lost their spouse, or their children and family may hardly visit them or not at all.

Depression is hard to diagnose in each developmental group and have specific symptoms. Symptoms in children it will be more physical, such as tummy aches, headaches. Not feeling well, clingy, separation, and anxiety because they are unable to verbalize what they are feeling. With adolescence, they start to have feelings of hopelessness. Some even try to hurt themselves on the outside to make them feel the same pain they feel inside. The elderly want to keep their independence. They do not want to show that they can no longer take care of themselves and have to rely on others.

The most common treatments for depression are biological, social, cultural, and psychological treatments. Treatment for children may include play therapy, one on one sessions with therapists introducing dolls or other objects to help children act out their feelings. Adolescence may need biological therapy or medication, but only in extreme cases. The elderly may do well in group sessions so they know that they are not the only ones who feel lonely or empty inside. By knowing the symptoms of depression in each developmental stage can lead to treating the person and getting them the help that they need.


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Depression Through the Different Developmental Stages. (2019, Apr 15). Retrieved March 28, 2023 , from

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