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Depression

Research has consistently shown a strong link between suicide and depression, with 90% of the people who die by suicide having an existing mental illness or substance abuse problem at the time of their death.

What is Depression?

More than just temporary blue mood, the despondency of depression is unrelenting and overwhelming. Some people describe it as "living in a black hole" or having a feeling of impending doom. They can't escape their unhappiness and despair. However, some people with depression don't feel depressed at all. Rather than sad, they feel lifeless and empty. In this apathetic state, they are unable to experience pleasure. Even when participating in activities they used to enjoy, they feel as if they're just "going through the motions."  Depression is often linked with anxiety (link).

Specific symptoms must include five of the following:

  • Problems with eating
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Increased irritability
  • Feeling very slowed down while at the same time feeling restless or agitated
  • Feeling very tired or fatigued
  • Feeling of worthlessness or major guilt
  • Not being able to concentrate very well, can't make decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death
  • Feeling sad or depressed for most of the day for at least two weeks

Facts and Statistics about Depression

1 in 10 American adults—or approximately 21 million people―suffer from a depressive illness each year.

Rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men. This is due to hormonal factors. When it comes to symptoms, women are more likely than men to experience pronounced feelings of guilt, sleep excessively, overeat, and gain weight. Women are also more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Causes of Depression

Early life experiences, life events, genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, lifestyle factors, and certain personality traits all play a part in causing depression. Something that causes depression in one person may have no effect on another.

What helps Depression?

  • Psychotherapy or talk therapy
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Taking a daily vitamin and eating well
  • Exercising on a regular basis