What is Depression?
Someone may say that they are “so depressed” that they couldn’t get concert tickets to see a favorite band or “in a funk” because things haven’t been going their way for a while. That sucks, but it is nothing like having depression. In fact, it’s a little insulting to call ‘the blues’ depression or vice versa.
Depression, which is known as Major Depression, Major Depressive Disorder, or Clinical Depression is a serious, life-threating mental health condition. It can roll in suddenly and take over your mind and body like a black cloud.
When someone is having an episode of depression they may have trouble getting out of bed, going to school or work, and doing things they love to do. It can make life feel not worth living anymore. That’s pretty dark, but these days, most people recover from depression with therapy and medication, or both.
Is it normal?
Major depression is a common mental health condition that affects 6% of Americans each year— and half are between the age of 13 and 16. It’s more common in women than men—though experts believe that’s because women are more likely to get treatment. Depression is a serious risk factor for suicide, so it’s very important to get treatment.
What are the signs?
When someone experiences these symptoms of depression, most of the time, for several months, it’s time to get help.
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
- Changes in appetite and weight loss or weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Moving and thinking slowly
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
- Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
How can I get help?
Anytime you are in crisis you can call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
It’s a good idea to find a mental health professional with a background in treating depression who has the ability to prescribe medication. HelpPRO, Psychology Today and the Anxiety and Depression Association of American can help you with your search.
If you want to get connected to mental health treatment center in your area, use the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator or call 1-800-662-4357.