Depression is the most prevalent mental health condition in the United States and 1 in 15 adults will experience depression or have at least one major depressive episode. Last year 16 million American adults, or 6.9% of the population, experienced at least one episode of major depression. Rates of depression are higher among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. Women are diagnosed with depression almost 2:1 than men and approximately one in eight women experience postpartum depression.
The more severe the depression, the greater the risk for suicide. Approximately 5 percent of individuals with depression have suicidal thoughts but approximately 2 percent actually follow through. Individuals hospitalized with depression doubles to 4 percent.
Everyone experiences occasional sadness but when does a bad day become something more? While bouts of sadness can be fleeting and often are triggered by specific events, depression is more pervasive and persists across time and circumstances without any specific cause. While sadness is an emotion and a specific reaction to an event, depression is a state of being and impacts all aspects of your mind and body.
Five Questions To Ask Yourself
- Have your sleep or eating habits changed? Do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep? Do you find yourself sleeping too much or too little? Have you started eating more than usual or have you lost your appetite?
- Are you anxious and irritable all the time? Does everything upset you? Do you find yourself being set off by things that used to be manageable? Do you dread everyday activities or have a sense of impending doom that never seems to go away?
- Do you feel of hopeless or helpless across most situations? Does it seem like life is pointless? Do you feel like you have nothing to look forward to and a sense of emptiness?
- Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies that you usually enjoy? Do you avoid friends and families? Do activities that used to bring you happiness or enjoyment no longer interest you? Are socially isolating yourself?
- Do you have difficulty focusing or making decisions? Is it hard to make simple decisions? Do you have a hard time focusing your attention on any one task?
Depression Is Treatable
The good news is that clinical depression is treatable. Treatment options may include antidepressants, counseling, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, vitamin D, light therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or a combination of these options. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that 40 to 60 people out of 100 who started antidepressants noticed improved symptoms after six to eight weeks. The first step is to speak with your primary care provider (PCP) to discuss your options.