1 in 4 people in the US suffer from depression in a given year ~National Institute of Mental Health
If you are suffering with depression, know you are not alone. Depression is prevalent, roughly 16 million adults live with depression in the US, and does not discriminate between sex, socioeconomic status, age or ethnicity. Depression can affect anyone even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Depression is a serious medical condition not a weakness. Depression negatively affects how a person feels, thinks and acts. Depression affects the brain, you know that organ in your body that is in charge of controlling the rest of the body’s systems. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) criteria for major depression is:
2 or more weeks feeling depressed most of the time and an abnormal loss of interest or pleasure most the time. In order to get help for yourself or someone you care about, it is important to recognize the symptoms:
- Deep feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Decreased interest or pleasure in activities
- Change in appetite &/or significant weight change
- Change in sleep: insomnia or sleeping too much
- Change in activity: psychomotor agitation or retardation
- Poor Concentration: trouble thinking or remembering things, inability to concentrate, indecisive
- Fatigue, lethargy, loss of energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Physical symptoms: i.e. headaches, digestive disorders & chronic pain
- Suicidal: thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
Having anywhere from 3-5 of the above symptoms indicate depression. There are other diagnostic tools that are used to screen for depression & severity: Beck Depression Inventory, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report and Patient Health Questionnaire.
Roughly 60% of adults with a mental health illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year. ~Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
Despite the prevalence of depression, many people suffer in silence and avoid getting treatment due to the stigma in society around mental health. If you are suffering with depression, you are not alone. Please seek medical attention and support from family & friends. Depression is a medical condition not a weakness. There are plenty of medical & holistic treatments (i.e. yoga and mindfulness) available to help you on the road to remission. Understand more about depression: helpful websites and books.
Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right. ~Kevin Breel at TED