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Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life and normal functioning. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most that experience it, find therapy helpful. It affects both men and women, but more women than men are likely to be diagnosed with depression in any given year. The vast majority of individuals, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with therapy.

Facts about Depression

  • Roughly 20 million people in the United States suffer from it every year.
  • 1 in 4 young adults will suffer an episode before age 24.
  • Women are 2 times as likely to suffer from it than men.
  • The World Health Organization estimates it will be the 2nd highest medical cause of disability by the year 2030, 2nd only to HIV/AIDS.
  • Many creative individuals experienced it, including Ludwig van Beethoven, John Lennon, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Plath.

Depression affects all people regardless of age, demographic, or social position.
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Possible Causes of Depression

From WebMD.com:

  • abuse – physical, sexual, or emotional
  • certain medications
  • conflict
  • death or a loss
  • genetics
  • life events – starting a new job, graduating, getting married, moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, retiring
  • other personal problems – social isolation
  • serious illnesses
  • substance abuse

Symptoms of Depression

  • insomnia, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • negative thoughts
  • overeating or loss of appetite
  • irritability, aggression or anger
  • no interest in activities or hobbies
  • the increase in alcohol consumption and/or reckless behavior
  • thoughts of suicide

When left untreated, symptoms may worsen and last for months or sometimes even years. These symptoms can cause unimaginable misery and possibly lead to suicide. Recognizing the symptoms is often the biggest obstacle to the diagnosis and treatment. Over half of the people who experience symptoms never do get diagnosed or treated.

More than one out of every 10 people battling depression commits suicide.

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