Depression is a mental health disorder that inflicts the individual with chronic feelings of despair, disinterest, and lethargy, among other feelings. The condition plagues approximately 3.4 percent of people in the United States, WebMD reports.
Stanford University states that 10 percent or more of the American population will experience a major depressive disorder at some time in their lives. It affects females about twice as often as males, per PsychCentral. Depression is most common in individuals who:
- Have a personal or family history of mental illness
- Experience chronic physical health problems
- Are experiencing a stressful time or big change in their lives
- Lack social support from others
- Are low on the socioeconomic scale
- Have low self-esteem
- Have a negative perception of the world
- Are of advanced age
- Suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders
Depression is more than being down in the dumps, having a bad week, or being sad. It’s perpetual, and it leaves the sufferer feeling drained without explanation. Not only does it affect its victims emotionally, but physical energy and willpower are also depleted. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about may be suffering from depression, look for the following signs:
- Hopeless feelings
- Withdrawal from social activities and things once found to be enjoyable
- A persistent angry mood or easily irritated
- Self-loathing thoughts or behaviors
- Unexplained physical aches and pain
- Trouble focusing
- Zapped energy
- Appetite or weight fluctuations
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Sometimes the symptoms of depression can get lost in the mix of other issues. Substance abuse and addiction are major issues that can cloud the symptoms of depression, largely because addicts are often stereotyped as being withdrawn from society and lazy or lethargic. In 2012, 23.9 million people were abusing illicit psychotherapeutic drugs, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Another 17 million were abusing alcohol, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports. Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders among substance abusers.
Treatment for depression
Depression is an incredibly serious mental health disorder. If you know someone who is depressed, or you are suffering from depression, it’s important to get prompt help. If untreated, depression generally worsens and can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
While it can be difficult to see the light when suffering from depression, help is available, and it can quite literally change your life. Through the use of medications and therapy, people who suffer from depression are able to gain control of their disorder and move on to live happy and fulfilling lives. Everyday Health notes that up to 80 percent of people who seek treatment for depression will respond to that treatment within four to six weeks.
Oftentimes, those with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol in an effort to self-medicate the issue. If this is the case, treatment for both issues is needed. By addressing the depression and the substance abuse issues simultaneously, the chances of a complete recovery are increased.
Visit The Recovery Village for more information.