Depression is a serious medical condition. In contrast to the normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss, or passing mood states, clinical depression is persistent and can interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to function.Symptoms of Depression include:

  • Sad mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Physical slowing or agitation
  • Energy loss
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • And/or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Facts About Depression

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder is made if a person has 5 or more of these symptoms and impairment in usual functioning nearly every day during the same two-week period. Major depression often begins between ages 15 to 30 but also can appear in children. Episodes typically recur.

Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and worldwide. Depressive disorders affect an estimated 9.5 percent of adult

Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or about 18.8 million people in 1998. Nearly twice as many women (12 percent) as men (7 percent) are affected by a depressive disorder each year.

Depression can be devastating to family relationships, friendships, and the ability to work or go to school. Many people still believe that the emotional symptoms caused by depression are “not real,” and that a person should be able to shake off the symptoms. Because of these inaccurate beliefs, people with depression either may not recognize that they have a treatable disorder or may be discouraged from seeking or staying on treatment due to feelings of shame and stigma. Too often, untreated or inadequately treated depression is associated with suicide.

Solutions to the Depression Dilemma

  • Seeking professional assistance via counseling and/or medication
  • Staying active via hobbies and personal interests
  • Utilizing support systems
  • Exercise and eating well balanced meals