Most of us have experienced depression at some point in our lives. It’s also likely that we have watched as a family member, friend, or colleague has struggled with depression.
Did You Know?
• Some form of depression affects 20-25% of Americans 18 years and older each year.
• About 15% experience major depression at some point in their lives (up to 25% of women).
• About 5% have chronic depression.
• About 2.8% have bipolar disorder.
• Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.
Depression’s Many Forms
While we all may experience depression throughout our lives, the extent and severity may vary greatly from person-to-person. When one experiences sadness or depression it may represent a number of possible, underlying problems. While there are many types of depression, some common forms include grieving, seasonal depression, and postpartum depression. Other types of depression include clinical depression, depression as a result of other medical conditions, and bipolar depression. Depression can be a result of the use of either prescribed or non-prescribed substances, such as alcohol, blood pressure medication, opioids, or marijuana.
Signs & Symptoms of Depression
Some people may experience depression only once or twice throughout their lifetime, however it is more common for people to have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, and nearly every day. Some of the most common signs and symptoms may include:
• Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
• Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all regular activities
• Sleep disturbances, including sleeping too little or sleeping too much
• Low energy
• Difficulty focusing and concentrating
• Changes in appetite
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts
Treatment and Recovery
Depression can range from mild to severe, from brief episodes lasting a few days to chronic lasting over many years.
For milder forms of depression, recovery can come in the form of good self-care, diet, exercise, meditation, play, social support, support groups, and self-help books. For more severe depression, recovery starts with a good assessment from a professional that includes medical evaluation to rule out possible underlying causes, mental health evaluation to develop a treatment plan, and goals for depression treatment.