Is Depression More Likely To Strike At Any Particular Age?

Question: Is depression more likely to strike at any particular age?

Answer: One of the surprises that these large epidemiologic studies have discovered is that the age of first onset of depression, when you first see the symptoms, is far younger than we used to believe. It used to be believed that depression was a disorder of middle-aged and women who were going through the menopause. But that is no longer true based on these large studies. Major depression has the highest risk of first developing between the ages of about 15 and 34.

Now, there are many people who are older than that who have depression, but those are usually recurrences. But if you've asked a 60 year old when they first got depressed, you'll often find that it was much younger, and that this is just another episode. Having said that, there are some people who first get depressed when they're elderly, and they have no history of depression. And oftentimes there is some other underlying biological cause of that.

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