Depression and Anxiety Information

Life can be challenging and for that reason most Americans tend to feel anxious or depressed at times following major events. Losing a loved one, experiencing a divorce or the loss of a dear friend are examples of triggers for depression. In these times of stress, we often feel sad, afraid, lonely, nervous or anxious, all normal responses to life’s challenges and stressors.

When individuals experience these symptoms on a daily or near daily basis without any identifiable trigger, an anxiety disorder or depression or both may exist. These two mental health disorders are closely linked. Close to 50% of persons diagnosed with anxiety disorder also suffer depression and vice versa.

It may not seem like it when the sufferer cannot function normally, but both disorders can be successfully treated by mental health professionals. Yet, about one-third of people suffering these disorders in the US do not seek professional help.

What is Depression?

Depression is often misunderstood by laymen who feel they can rally their resources and get back to work, school, relationships or life. One reason so few people seek professional treatment is that they view depression as a condition they could not possibly suffer. Depression is indiscriminate and affects adult Americans of all ages, including seniors.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association, 6.7 percent of American adults experienced at least one depressive episode in the last 12 months. It is estimated that 2 percent of America’s young children and 8 percent of our teens may suffer depression right now.

Depression is explained as a condition that makes people of all ages feel discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated and/or disinterested in life events and in relationships be they personal or work-related.

It is natural to feel many of these conditions as we move through our life. Nobody likes to be disappointed. When these feelings persist for a brief period of time, they can be attributed to “feeling the blues.” But, when the feelings continue for two weeks or longer and begin to interfere with work, school or relationships, they can most likely be attributed to a major depressive episode.

Major depression is no bargain and can negatively impact our ability to perform at work or at school. Despite being a treatable illness, depression remains one of the most prevalent mental disorders in the US. In 2014, 15.7 million adults aged 18 or more and living in the US experienced at least one major depressive event in the previous year. Between 3 and 5 percent of American adults suffer from major depression that can seem to make life unbearable.

Three Types of Depression

There are three main types of depression:

• Major depression

• Persistent depressive disorder

• Bipolar disease

Major depression sufferers experience symptoms over a two-week period and suffer these effects:

• Inability to work

• Inability to study

• Inability to sleep

• Inability to eat

Major depression can occur once or twice in a lifetime. The symptoms can reoccur at any time. Professional treatment is the only way to correct this disorder. Unfortunately, major depression sufferers often feel life is not worth living and may attempt suicide.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

PDD is one form of depression that persists for at least two years. Low energy, poor appetite, overeating, insomnia or over sleeping are common symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder

Once known as manic depression, bipolar depression is characterized by mood cycles that change quickly from severe highs (mania) or mild highs (hypomania) or severe lows (depression). In the manic phase, the sufferer can experience excessive emotions such as elation or irritability and increased talking, sexual desire, poor judgment and a host of other effects.

Remember depression is treatable. Contact a mental health professional if you have symptoms.