It’s normal for people to sometimes feel sad, disappointed or disheartened, especially when they experience low points in their life. However, these “blues” usually go away when any happy circumstances occur.
But in some people, this low mood becomes persistent and lasts a long time — for weeks, months or even years. And if it comes with other hallmark symptoms, such as lack of interest in enjoyable activities, a feeling of hopelessness or thoughts about self-harm or even suicide, then watch out: You may be suffering from depression.
Depression Defined: Know the Facts
The Mayo Clinic defines depression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD), as "a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.”
This debilitating condition affects you entirely — how you behave, think and feel — and paves the way for emotional and physical problems to arise. Depressed individuals usually struggle with completing their day-to-day tasks, feeling as if there’s no more point in living.1
There are different subtypes of depression depending on the symptoms, the intensity and their triggers.
Some of the most common ones include manic depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or “the winter blues” and antepartum and postpartum depression (occurs specifically in pregnant women and new mothers).2
Depression is a widespread global problem, with an estimated 350 million people dealing with this severe mood disorder today.3 Even in developed, industrialized countries, depression is rampant.
In fact, in the United States, 1 in 20 Americans over 12 years old are now struggling with depression. In the year 2014 alone, it’s said that 6.7 percent of American adults suffered a major depressive episode.4
This Disorder Is Now a Prevalent Problem
Depression is not a simple condition that you can “snap out of.” If not addressed immediately, it can wreak havoc on your physical health, like low immunity and worsened pain, or worse, substance abuse.
Even more alarming is the link between depression and suicide. According to DoSomething.org, untreated depression is the primary cause of suicide, and at least two-thirds of people who succumbed to this act are actually depressed at the time of their deaths.6
Keep an Eye Out for the Signs — Before It’s Too Late
Depression does not discriminate between gender, race or social status. Anyone can be predisposed to it. Given its potentially dangerous effects, it’s only wise to take the necessary precautions to address and treat this disorder before it spirals out of control.
But a word to the wise: Antidepressants and other medications are NOT the best solution for depression, and may even have more debilitating and long-term side effects.
Read these articles and learn important facts about depression, including its hallmark symptoms, devastating effects and how to avoid it. Plus, learn natural yet useful remedies that will help alleviate this disorder but will not put you at risk for side effects, unlike conventional antidepressant medications. Stay informed now, so you can avoid or address this mental disorder immediately.