How depression symptoms vary with gender and age?Depression often varies according to age and gender, with symptoms differing between men and women, or young people and older adults.
Depressed men are less likely to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. They’re also more likely to experience symptoms such as anger, aggression, reckless behavior, and substance abuse.
Women are more likely to experience symptoms such as pronounced feelings of guilt, excessive sleeping, overeating, and weight gain. Depression in women is also impacted by hormonal factors during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. In fact, postpartum depression affects up to 1 in 7 women following childbirth.
Irritability, anger, and agitation are often the most noticeable symptoms in depressed teens—not sadness. They may also complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pains.
Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms: things like fatigue, unexplained aches and pains, and memory problems. They may also neglect their personal appearance and stop taking critical medications for their health.
Depression comes in many shapes and forms. While defining the severity—whether it’s mild, moderate, or major—can be complicated, knowing what type you have may help you manage your symptoms and get the most effective treatment.
Mild and moderate depression
These are the most common types. More than simply feeling blue, the symptoms of mild depression can interfere with your daily life, robbing you of joy and motivation. Those symptoms become amplified in moderate depression and can lead to a decline in confidence and self-esteem.
Major or clinical depression
Major depression (otherwise known as major depressive disorder) is much less common than mild or moderate and is characterized by severe, relentless symptoms.
1,Left untreated, major depressive disorder typically lasts for about six months.
2,Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but major depression can be a recurring disorder.
Atypical depression is a common subtype of major depressive disorder with a specific symptom pattern. It responds better to some therapies and medications than others, so identifying it can be helpful.
1,People with atypical depression experience a temporary mood lift in response to positive events, such as after receiving good news or while out with friends.
2,Other symptoms include weight gain, increased appetite, sleeping excessively, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, and sensitivity to rejection.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD affects about 1% to 2% of the population, particularly women and young people. SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. SAD usually begins in fall or winter when the days become shorter and remains until the brighter days of spring.