An estimated 15 million people will suffer from major depression this year, a condition that can take effect due to several factors, which can be psychological, biological, environmental and genetic.(1)
Major depression is a mood state that transcends typical feelings of sadness, loss and grief. It is a serious medical condition that impacts thoughts, moods, emotions and physical health. The onset of depression can occur at any age and will likely reoccur throughout the individual's lifetime. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States.(2)
The severity and frequency of symptoms vary, but in general they include: anxiety and restlessness, feelings of hopelessness, insomnia or excessive sleep, suicidal thoughts, loss of appetite or overeating, muscle aches, lack of desire for pleasurable activities, and inability to concentrate.
The stigma attached to depression is slowly eroding and the treatments for depression, including counseling, continue to improve. In most cases, a combination of psychotherapy and medication can effectively treat 80 to 90 percent of all cases.
1. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
2. The World Health Organization. The World Health Report 2004: Changing History, Annex Table 3: Burden of disease in DALYs by cause, sex, and mortality stratum in WHO regions, estimates for 2002. Geneva: WHO, 2004.
For more information about Depression, see Health Education Answers