Many people struggle with depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports surprising statistics surrounding depression. Namely, depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. between the ages of 15 and 44.
Depression affects more than 16.1 million American adults. This is about 6.7% of the entire adult U.S. population in a given year. While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old. It is more prevalent in women than in men.
People living with mental health disorders often say it’s hard for people to understand them. This is because of the many misconceptions around depression.
Grieving and Depression are not the same
For many people, it is normal to experience grief after a loss. These losses can be things like loss of a loved one or a loss of a job. The difference between depression and grief is that it’s not a passing mood. Depression must last longer than two weeks.
It doesn’t need to have an environmental cause
People can experience depression after experiencing a loss or a major life change. Yet, many people become depressed for seemingly no reason at all. This follows from a disturbance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine keep us happy and content. People with depression are in a deficit of one or a combination of these hormones. Their brains often do not produce enough of these happy-making substances.
It can occur at any age
Depression is most common in women and adults in their mid-thirties. But it’s possible for depression to occur at any age. Many adolescents also struggle with undiagnosed and untreated depression. This can cause a child to withdraw from activities they formerly enjoyed or show apathy towards school and friends.
Adolescents often struggle due to the great pressure placed on them. This is usually from parents, teachers, and even friends. It is a fundamental time for identity development. Teens and pre-teens may feel lost. They struggle with becoming independent of their parents and friends. This uncertainty on how to take on the world can result in later depression.
Senior adults are another at-risk group for depression. As life slows down it’s easy to feel down and less valuable. Many seniors experience loss and grief on a regular basis, as their friends begin to pass away. Co-morbidities such as stroke and dementia affect older adults and can also lead to depression.
Depression usually has company
It’s usual for depression to occur along with other mental health problems. Anxiety and Depression are like best friends. Where anxiety goes depression often follows. Once depression begins to subside, anxiety often replaces it. Depression can also occur in people with eating disorders, PTSD, and personality disorders.
Depression is often a trigger for many other mental health disorders.
It’s easier than ever to treat
Because depression is caused by a neuro-chemical imbalance, it can be very simple to treat it. Often times, people find they feel much better after a short time on medication. Prescription antidepressants can begin working in as little as two weeks. Many of these medicines are also safer than ever before.
No one should have to live with chronic depression out of fear of ridicule or disdain from their peers. So, it’s important for people struggling with depression to communicate with their friends and family and have a strong support system. The more transparent we are about mental health the more people will seek treatment and get better.
Also by Alexis: Why A Vegan Diet Boosts Brain Health, According To Science
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