Did you know that depression is the most common mental health condition in the United States? Shockingly, 1 in 15 adults will experience depression or have at least one major depressive episode. That’s a staggering statistic! In fact, last year alone, a whopping 16 million American adults – that’s 6.9% of the population – experienced at least one episode of major depression. But here’s the kicker: rates of depression are even higher among young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. That’s right, the age group that’s supposed to be carefree and enjoying life is actually struggling the most with this debilitating condition. And while depression doesn’t discriminate, it does seem to affect women more than men. In fact, women are diagnosed with depression almost twice as often as men. And if that wasn’t enough, approximately one in eight women experience postpartum depression – a condition that can make the already challenging task of motherhood even more difficult.
The more severe the depression, the higher the risk for suicide. Shockingly, around 5 percent of people with depression experience suicidal thoughts, but only 2 percent actually act on them. However, the risk doubles for those who are hospitalized with depression, with a staggering 4 percent of individuals taking their own lives.
We all have those days where we feel a little down in the dumps, but how do we know when it’s more than just a bad day? Sure, feeling sad can come and go, usually triggered by something specific, but depression is a whole different ball game. It’s like a dark cloud that hangs over you, no matter what’s going on in your life. Sadness is just an emotion, a reaction to something that’s happened, but depression is like a state of being that affects every part of you, mind and body included.
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
Clinical depression is absolutely treatable. There are a variety of options available to you, including antidepressants, counseling, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, vitamin D, light therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or a combination of these treatments. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a whopping 40 to 60 out of 100 people who start taking antidepressants notice a significant improvement in their symptoms after just six to eight weeks. The first step towards feeling better is to chat with your primary care provider (PCP) about which treatment options might be best for you. Don’t wait – take control of your mental health today!