Depression is an all-encompassing, life-changing mental illness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2013, an estimated 15.7 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the prior year – that’s 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of sadness
- Overreacting to insignificant events
- Lack of interest in formerly pleasurable pursuits
- Changes in sleep pattern and appetite
- Apathy and fatigue
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Slowed speech, thoughts and body movement
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Difficulty making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Unexplained bodily pain
Depression is a complex disease that cannot be attributed to a specific cause; rather it is brought about by a combination of circumstances both internal and external. According to Harvard Health, some contributory factors are genetics, when close family members also have symptoms of depression, a disruption in the brain causing faulty regulation of moods and stressful or traumatic life events such as the loss of a loved one, financial disaster, severe physical illness or a side effect of medication.
According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D., depression is caused by biological, psychological and social factors. Although research is making great strides toward uncovering the cause of depression, there is far to go. Since each person’s makeup is different, treatment of depression varies for each individual depending upon their symptoms and the severity of the condition.
Those with low self-esteem, a pessimistic outlook and easily overwhelmed by stress are prone to depression. Physical illness such as stroke, heart attack, cancer or Parkinson’s disease can trigger depression as can any major life-changing stressful situation. Harvard Health points to the effect of temperament on behavior. Temperament or attitude is determined by a person’s genetic code, one person may be excitable while another tends to withdraw from social situations.
Despite temperament or world view, a person with depression can be helped. Medication and therapy can change negative and even harmful thoughts and attitudes that have developed over time. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression and would like further information on how and where to get help, please call the Florida Depression Helpline. We can provide up-to-date information for any questions you may have and get you connected to the best treatment program for you or your loved one’s needs. Help is available; all you have to do is call.