Depression is a mental health illness that can affect many people at various stages of their life. In general, the risk of depression developing is influenced by a number of risk factors including:
- Family history of depression
- Substance abuse
- Chronic or serious physical illness
- Major life changes, such as a child leaving home!
Symptoms of depression
There are specific symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis of depression. These include (over a 2 week period):
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- Diminished interest in work or activities
- Weight loss of gain
- Sleeping problems
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Some people may experience thoughts of suicide
Depression amongst ‘empty nesters’
There are a number of reasons why ‘empty nesters’ are at risk of developing depression. ‘Empty nesters’ are going through a major life change when their child leaves home, which can negatively impact their mood in several different ways:
- Some people feel they have lost their identity in terms of their role as a parent.
- Some people experience feelings of guilt that they may not have prepared their child well enough for the outside world.
- Some parents experience changes in their relationship with their partner. Without the distraction of caring for children, some parents find relationship issues more difficult to ignore.
While not all people going through the ‘empty nest’ stage of their life will develop depression, some do. It is important to recognise symptoms of depression if they occur and seek treatment. Depression is a condition that can be treated. There is plenty of professional information and support available in Perth, so people should never suffer with depression alone. Early intervention is the key to successful treatment of depression. Contact the team at Swan Valley Psychology if you would like more information on depression.