Dealing with DepressionIN WOMEN'S HEALTH
Though once considered a condition that did not require treatment, or at times dismissed altogether, depression is now recognized as a serious disorder that affects your thoughts, moods, feelings, behavior, and even your body. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 19 million Americans suffer with depression every year. And while an estimated one-tenth of American men will deal with depression at some point in their lifetimes, one out of every five women will battle at least one episode of depression. No one is immune to an occasional bout of the blues, but major depression is something much more serious. The National Institute of Mental Health has identified the following symptoms of depression:
- persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- loss of interest or pleasure in once-enjoyable activities (including sex)
- restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, or pessimism
- sleep abnormalities
- changes in weight and appetite
- decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
- difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment (headaches, digestive disorders, chronic pain)
If you experience three or more of the signs of depression for longer than two weeks, or if they interfere with daily life, you may be suffering from major depression. While the triggers may be different (or even unknown) depending on the individual, a variety of factors such as family history, stressful life situations, and personality are associated with major depression. But the good news is that treatment for depression is continually improving. In fact, treatments can help relieve symptoms in as many as 80 percent of depression cases.
Help Is Here
Depression is a serious condition that should not be ignored. If you suspect that you or a loved one could be suffering from depression, don’t wait to get help. It may be no more than a phone call away. The National Institute of Mental Health has compiled the following list of resources that may be able to provide or refer you to the help you need:
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