The Depressing Facts

You most likely know and/or work with someone who is depressed right now, has recently recovered or is likely to become depressed.

A recent study revealed that more than 10% of the people in the US over the age of 6 suffer from some form of depression each year.  That is double from a decade ago.  If 19 million people in the US are being treated it is staggering to imagine how many tens of millions of people in the world are undiagnosed or untreated at this very moment!  The depression rate in developed countries is estimated at 15%.

Eighty percent of depressed people do not seek treatment due in part to the fact that more than half think that depression is a sign of weakness.

Being aware of depression and its symptoms can enable you to help yourself and others when they need help.  Depression is treatable. 

The Impact of Depression 

We are surrounded by depression.  According to Australian Government statistics you will be affected by either your or someone else’s depression at some time in your life.

Depression is a leading cause of problems at work and at home.  The economic impact of lost time and decreased job effectiveness is estimated to be about 50 billion dollars per year.  It is the leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15 – 44 and the top cause of disability worldwide for people over age 5.  It is a leading cause of suicide and is estimated to become second only to heart disease by mid-century.

Depression must not be ignored.

What is depression?

Depression is an insidious disease that can sneak up on people.  Emotional experiences of sadness, grief, response to loss, and temporary “blue” moods are normal. Persistent depression (clinical depression) that interferes significantly with ability to function is not.  Clinical depression is not just grief or feeling sad. It is an illness that can challenge your ability to perform even routine daily activities.  Here is a checklist of symptoms. From the National Institute of Mental Health:

Ask yourself if you feel:

  • nervous
  • empty
  • worthless
  • that you don’t enjoy things you used to
  • restless
  • irritable
  • unloved
  • that life isn’t worth living

Ask yourself if you are:

  • sleeping more or less than usual
  • eating more or less than usual

These may be symptoms of depression, a treatable illness. Talk to your doctor.

Other symptoms that may signal depression, but may also be signs of other serious illnesses, should be checked by a doctor, whatever the cause. They include:

  • being very tired and sluggish
  • frequent headaches
  • frequent stomachaches
  • chronic pain