What is depression? Who does it affect? What are the symptoms? What are the different types? How do you deal with it?
These are questions that you should be trying to answer. Depression is on the rise among all groups regardless of age, gender, race and ethnicity. Major depression, in particular, has been identified as one of the most common forms of mental illnesses affecting Americans.
It has been reported that about 16 million American adults suffer from a form of depression each year. Even more concerning, 1 in every 5 Americans (16.6%) will experience depression at some point in their lives. Given these numbers, I think we need to learn more about the disease.
What is Depression?
Depression or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a serious mental illness that impairs mood, emotions and therefore, actions. Depression negatively affects the way we feel, the way we think and the way we act. People tend to think of depression as extreme sadness, and though that's a fair way to think of depression, it's more severe than just a case of sadness. Someone who struggle with depression experiences hopelessness. This tends to lead to a lack of interest in activities and in life.
Who is Affected by Depression?
Depression is a non-discriminatory disease. It can affect everyone and anyone. Diagnoses have increased dramatically in recent years. There’s been a 63% increase in depression diagnoses in children ages 12-17 from 2013 to 2016. In adults 18-34, there has been a 47% increase. Research indicates that women are more prone to depression than men: 8.7% of those who are diagnosed with major depression are women and 5.3% are men.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
You may just write-off your isolation and sadness as just a phase, and that's fine because we all have those days where we don’t want to be around anyone. But you should be concerned if this persists. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
1. No interest or engagement in activities
2. Finding no pleasure in anything
3. Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
4.Too much or too little sleep
5. Loss of energy or increased fatigue
6. Increase in fidgeting or unproductive activity like pacing
7. Slowed movements and speech
8. Lost sense of self-worth
9. Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
10. Thoughts of death or suicide
What are the Different Types of Depression?
Depression can take many forms, but the symptoms tend to be consistent in all forms of depression. The following are the most common types of depression:
o Major Depression Disorder/Clinical Depression: For someone to be diagnosed with MDD or clinical depression, he/she needs to have experienced depression symptoms almost every day for at least 2 weeks.
o Persistent Depression Disorder: In this case, symptoms of depression have to be present almost every day for at least 2 years.
o Post-Partum Depression: PPD starts after child birth and can last from 2 weeks up to a year.
o Seasonal Affective Disorder: Symptoms of depression are associated with varying levels of sunlight during fall and winter which subsides during spring and summer.
o Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Women with PMDD have depression and menstrual symptoms at the start of their periods.
o Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar Disorder symptoms usually appear between ages 15 and 24 and persist through a lifetime. Bipolar Disorder is seldom diagnosed in young children and adults older than 65.
How do you deal with Depression?
The good news is that depression is very treatable and treatment is readily available for those in need. Treatment options include medication--antidepressants-- and therapy.
Treatment is often based on the type of disorder, the severity and your medical history.
To learn more and find out what is most suitable for you, consult a physician.
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