Depression is one of the most
common mental illnesses in the world Depression is a serious mental illness in
which feelings of sadness and loss of interest last for weeks and interfere with
daily life. All people experience moments when they feel sad or blue, but these
feelings usually pass within a couple of days and are not indicative of
depression. Depression can cause deep emotional pain both to the person
experiencing it and, often, to that person's close family and friends.
There are several different types of medically recognized depression.The most
common type of depression is called major depression, and it occurs when your
symptoms interfere with your enjoyment of life or daily functions including your
work, sleep, and eating habits for at least two weeks straight. Some people
experience only one episode of major depression in their life, while others may
go through numerous episodes of the illness.
In comparison, people with another condition known as persistent depressive
disorder also known as dysthymia experience less severe mood symptoms that last
continuously for at least two years. During this time, there may also be periods
when the person experiences major depression. In 2014, about 15.7 million adults
ages 18 and above — or 6.7 percent of adults — had at least one major depressive
episode, according to the National Institutes of the Health (NIH). Dysthymia, on
the other hand, affects about 1.5 percent of the adult population.Worldwide,
depression affects some 350 million people, according to the World Health
Organization. Different cultures experience different rates of depression.
There are numerous factors that can trigger the onset of depression, including
bereavement, illness (such as cancer or chronic pain), social isolation or
loneliness, and stressful life events (such as divorce or money problems).
But scientists don't know exactly why some people develop depression and others
avoid it. Several factors most likely contribute to the development of
• Genetics (mood disorders and suicide run in families)
• Trauma or abuse at an early age, which can cause long-term changes in how the
brain deals with fear and stress
• Brain structure and chemistry
• Substance abuse
• Hormonal changes, such as from pregnancy or thyroid problems
Women are 70 percent more likely to experience depression than men, and
non-Hispanic blacks are 40 percent less likely to experience it than
non-Hispanic whites, according to the NIH.In addition, people ages 18 to 25 are
60 percent more likely to experience depression than people ages 50 and above.
Although men, women, and teenagers can experience the same depression symptoms,
the illness often has different signs in each of these groups.
Unlike regular feelings of sadness that pass relatively quickly, depression is a
clinical illness in which negative emotions last for weeks or longer.
It's one of the most common mental illnesses people experience, affecting an
estimated 350 million people across the globe, according to the World Health
Organization. depression is treatable and it's important to know the signs and
symptoms of the illness so that you can get help as soon as possible.
Psychotherapy, medication, and brain stimulation therapy can help treat various
forms of depression. Depression is different for everyone, but it typically
develops due to a combination of factors.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is designed to help people identify and
effectively deal with the psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and
situational factors related to their depression.
Different types of psychotherapy have different goals, such as helping people:
• Identify life problems that contribute to depression or worsen it
• Identify negative or distorted thoughts and beliefs that contribute to
depression-related feelings, such as hopelessness and helplessness
• Develop skills to better cope with stress and solve problems
• Explore relationships and experiences to improve their interactions with other
• Create realistic life goals and personal self-care plans
• Regain satisfaction and control in life
• Understand painful past event
Patients, who live with depression, and their family and friends, have enormous
challenges to overcome. Primary care physicians can provide compassionate care,
important education, psychiatric monitoring, social support, reassurance, and
advocacy for these patients and their loved ones.