- Affects over 18 million adults (one in ten) in any given year.
- Is the leading cause of disability for ages 15-44.
- Is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 13 minutes. – over 41,000 people a year.
- In comparison: homicide claims less than 16,000 lives each year, according to 2013 CDC statistics.
- Affects over 300 million people worldwide, regardless of culture, age, gender, religion, race or economic status.
- Is one of the most debilitating conditions on the world, with severe depression rated in the same disability category as terminal stage cancer.
- Is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.Organization, Media Centre, Depression Fact Sheet, Updated February 2017.
- Bipolar disorder Affects 2.6% of the U.S. adult population, or 6.3 million people.
- Bipolar often starts in a person’s late teen or early adult years. But children and older adults can have bipolar disorder too. The illness usually lasts a lifetime.
- Postpartum depression is reported to occur in 15% of women shortly before or any time after childbirth, but commonly begins between a week and a month after delivery.
- Postpartum depression has a higher risk of developing in women with a previous experience with depression, current depression, anxiety and low partner support.
Since the advent of the latest group of anti-depressants, (SSRIs and SNRIs) almost thirty years ago, there has been virtually no change in the treatment of depression or new category of medications. Yet over 50% of patient with major depression do no respond to existing treatments. Depression is complex and comes about for different reasons. Losing a loved one, getting fired from a job, going through a divorce, life transitions, relationship issues and other difficult situations can lead a person to feel sad, lonely and scared. These feelings are normal reactions to life’s stressors. However, in the case of individuals who are diagnosed with depression, the manifestations of the low mood are much more severe and they tend to persist.
Depression occurs more often in women than men. Some differences in the manner in which the depressed mood manifests has been found based on sex and age. In men it manifests often as tiredness, irritability and anger. They may show more reckless behavior and abuse drugs and alcohol. They also tend to not recognize that they are depressed and fail to seek help. In women depression tends to manifest as sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. In younger children depression is more likely to manifest as school refusal, anxiety when separated from parents, and worry about parents dying. Depressed teenagers tend to be irritable, sulky, and get into trouble in school. They also frequently have co-morbid anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. In older adults’ depression may manifest more subtly as they tend to be less likely to admit to feelings of sadness or grief and medical illnesses which are more common in this population also contributes or causes the depression.
Types of Depression:
Major Depressive Disorder:
Major depression is characterized by at least five of the diagnostic symptoms of which at least one of the symptoms is either an overwhelming feeling of sadness or a loss of interest and pleasure in most usual activities. The other symptoms that are associated with major depression include decrease or increase in appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psycho motor agitation or retardation, constant fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt, recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideation with or without specific plans for committing suicide, and cognitive difficulties, such as, diminished ability to think, concentrate and take decisions. The symptoms persist for two weeks or longer and represent a significant change from previous functioning. Social, occupational, educational, or other important functioning is also impacted. For instance, the person may start missing work or school, or stop going to classes or their usual social activities.
Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia):
For the individual to receive the diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder they should also have two of the diagnostic symptoms which include poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, or feelings of hopelessness. During this period, any symptom-free intervals last no longer than two months. The symptoms are not as severe as with major depression. Major depression may precede persistent depressive disorder, and major depressive episodes may also occur during persistent depressive disorder.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder:
In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before the start of a menstrual period and continue for the first few days of the period. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. PMDD is characterized by emotional and behavioral symptoms that are more severe, such as sadness or hopelessness, anxiety or tension, extreme moodiness, irritability or anger.
Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood:
Diagnosed when symptoms of depression are triggered within 3 months of onset of a stressor. The stressor usually involves a change of some kind in the life of the individual which he/she finds stressful. Sometimes the stressor can even be a positive event such as a new job, marriage, or baby which is nevertheless stressful for the individual. The distress is typically out of proportion to the expected reaction and the symptoms cause significant distress and impairment in functioning.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD):
People with SAD suffer the symptoms of a Major Depressive Disorder only during a specific time of year, usually winter. This appears to be related to the shorter days of winter, and the lack of sunlight in many parts of the country.
Coping With Loss
The loss of a loved one is life’s most stressful event and can cause a major emotional crisis. After the death of someone you love, you experience bereavement, which literally means “to be deprived by death.”
Knowing What to Expect
When a death takes place, you may experience a wide range of emotions. Many people report feeling an initial stage of numbness after first learning of a death, but there is no real order to the grieving process. Some emotions you may experience include:
Helpful principles for living with Grief:
- Seek out caring people.
- Express your feelings.
- Take care of your health.
- Accept that life is for the living.
- Postpone major life changes.
- Be patient.
- Seek outside help when necessary.
Helpful principles for helping others Grieve:
If someone you care about has lost a loved one, you can help them through the grieving process.
- Share the sorrow. Allow them — even encourage them — to talk about their feelings.
- Don’t offer false comfort. It doesn’t help the grieving person when you say “it was for the best” or “you’ll get over it in time.”
- Offer practical help. Baby-sitting, cooking and running errands are all ways to help someone who is in the midst of grieving.
- Be patient. Remember that it can take a long time to recover from a major loss.
- Encourage professional help when necessary.