Before giving birth, I had mild dysthymia, which is now called persistent depressive disorder according to the DSM-5. I also had postpartum depression, which was later diagnosed as postpartum bipolar disorder.
Who is Affected by Depression?
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 350 million people of all ages worldwide suffer from depression.
- The NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) estimates that in the United States, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That’s 6.9 percent of the population.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability. ~Jan 28, 2015
- Depression is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
- Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.
- Depression can occur to anyone, at any age, and to people of any race or ethnic group. Depression is never a “normal” part of life, no matter what your age, gender or health situation.
- While the majority of individuals with depression have a full remission of the disorder with effective treatment, only about a third (35.3%) of those suffering from severe depression seek treatment from a mental health professional.
- Too many people resist treatment because they believe depression isn’t serious, that they can treat it themselves or that it is a personal weakness rather than a serious medical illness – due to stigma.
- At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
- There are effective treatments for depression.
Symptoms of Clinical Depression
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
- Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
- Thoughts of suicide or death
Causes of Depression
- Biological – People with depression may have too little or too much of certain brain chemicals, called “neurotransmitters.” Changes in these brain chemicals may cause or contribute to depression.
- Cognitive – People with negative thinking patterns and low self-esteem are more likely to develop clinical depression.
- Gender – More women experience depression than men. While the reasons for this are still unclear, they may include the hormonal changes women go through during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Other reasons may include the stress caused by the multiple responsibilities that women have.
- Co-occurrence – Depression is more likely to occur along with certain illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and hormonal disorders.
- Medications – Side effects of some medications can bring about depression.
- Genetic – A family history of depression increases the risk for developing the illness. Some studies also suggest that a combination of genes and environmental factors work together to increase risk for depression.
- Situational – Difficult life events, including divorce, financial problems or the death of a loved one can contribute to depression.
Treatments for Depression
- antidepressant medication
- or a combination of the two.
- Learn more about therapy and medication.
- The choice of treatment depends on the pattern, severity, persistence of depressive symptoms and the history of the illness.
- As with many illnesses, early treatment is more effective and helps prevent the likelihood of serious recurrences.
- Depression must be treated by a physician or qualified mental health professional.
- For some people, depression can be very stubborn to treat and may require additional treatment options. Learn more here – Dealing with Treatment-resistant Depression: What to Do When Treatment Doesn’t Seem to Work.
Types of Depression
- Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical Depression); a mental health condition characterized by an inescapable and ongoing low mood often accompanied by low self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in activities that a person used to find enjoyable. To meet the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), symptoms must be present nearly every day for at least 2 weeks. MDD is also often referred to as Major Depression.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder; refers to a longer lasting form of depression. While Major Depressive Disorder is diagnosed if an individual experiences symptoms for at least 2 weeks, Persistent Depressive Disorder is used when symptoms of depression are present on most days for at least two years, but do not reach the severity of a major depressive episode. (Prior to the release of the DSM-5 this was more commonly known as Dysthymia.)
- Post-Partum Depression; depression that starts after child birth and lasts at least two weeks, up to a year.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder; a severe form of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome that is diagnosed when a woman experiences severe symptoms of depression, tension, and irritability in the week prior to menstruation. While it isn’t uncommon for most women to experience emotional and physical changes prior to menstruation, women who meet criteria for PMDD experience changes that impact their lives in more profound ways.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder; a mood disorder involving symptoms of depression associated with varying levels of sunlight during fall and winter months which subsides during spring and summer.
- Depression is also a feature of Bipolar Disorder.
Most information obtained from MHA © Copyright 2018 | Mental Health America | Formerly known as the National Mental Health Association. MHA permits electronic copying and sharing of all portions of its public website and requests in return only the customary copyright acknowledgement, using “© Copyright Mental Health America” and the date of the download.
I will be posting something important about mental illness every day throughout the month of May on my blog in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
Please keep visiting my blog My Loud Bipolar Whispers and look for statistics or other beneficial information related to mental illness to increase awareness, educate, reduce mental illness stigma and prevent suicides.
It is crucial and imperative for all of us to get involved and save lives.
So, please visit my blog every day, but especially every day throughout the month of May.
Mental illness awareness and education can save lives.
Opening the dialogue about mental illness can save lives.
Sharing your story can save lives.
Please see my post about my new campaign titled, “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.” I need your help and hope you will be interested in participating in my new campaign. Thank you for checking it out.
Much love and many blessings. Hugs, Sue
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