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What is depression?
Many people associate depression with feelings of sadness. While this is true, it is much more than feeling sad. Depression is a serious mental health condition that requires professional attention and treatment. Left untreated, depression rarely gets better and can ultimately lead to feelings of overwhelming despair, hopelessness, and potentially suicide.
Several factors can contribute to depression. Depression can be circumstantial (such as a change in marital status, loss of a loved one, loss of job) and/or genetic. Other mental health or physical health diagnoses can also contribute to depression, including substance abuse disorders. Those with a history of trauma are also more likely to experience depression because of a change in how the brain responds to fear and stress.
The experience of depression is different for everyone. That being said, the most common symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest in many or all activities
- Disruptions in sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Loss of energy
- Possible physical aches and pain
Am I at risk?
Depression is unbiased. It affects people from all walks of life. However, different groups of people tend to experience depression differently. For women, pregnancy and hormonal changes can contribute to depression. Communities that face stigmas or stereotypes in society can be more likely to develop depression. Genetics also have a role in whether you are predisposed to depression.
Depression At A Glance
- Approximately 20 million people in the US suffer from depression every year
- Women are two times more likely to suffer from depression than men
- People who are depressed are more prone to illness than are non-depressed people
- One in four young adults will suffer from depression before the age of 24