According to studies, it is estimated that 1 in 10 people over the age of 18 have a form of depression, totaling over 15 million people in the U.S. In addition, during the course of a person’s lifetime, there is a 17% chance that a person will experience a major depressive episode. Put in perspective, that is close to 1 and 5 people will experience a depressive episode during their life.
Forms of Depression
There are three common types of depression, including major depression, persistent depressive disorder (PDD), and bipolar disorder.
Major depressive condition is classified as a continued sadness of two weeks or longer, where someone can have intense feelings of sadness, and/or feeling hopeless, helpless, and worthless. Numerous people everyday have feelings of sadness and it is normal to feel down or sad after a hard day at work, a financial loss, or a relationship problem. However, understanding whether someone is depressed or temporarily sad is difficult for many people. In addition to an extended period of sadness, a two-week people experiencing depression also have a hard time finding enjoyment in things that once brought them joy and happiness in everyday life.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) is a form of depression that last for at least 2 years. PDD is less severe than major depression, but the symptoms are very similar, if not the same as major depression.
Bipolar disorder is a form of depression and it is classified as experiencing severe mood swings. A person with bipolar disorder usually is extremely happy one day and then shows symptoms of depression such as severe sadness.
Common Depression Symptoms
- Extended periods of sadness (over 2 weeks)
- Cannot find happiness in things that once brought one joy, including sex
- Pessimistic thoughts or feelings of hopelessness
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Loss of appetite or over eating
- Thoughts or attempts of suicide
- Restlessness or irritability
- Decreased energy or fatigue
Who does Depression Affect?
Sadness can affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities.
Numbers collected over a 12-month period in which an individual had a major depressive episode
White – 7.3%
African American – 4.6%
Hispanic – 5.8%
Asian – 4.0%
Native American or Alaska Native – 8.9%
Under 13 – 2.5%
13-18 – 3.3%
18-25 – 8.7%
26-49 – 7.6%
50+ – 5.1%
Male – 5.1%
Female – 8.1% (Women are 70% more likely to have a major depressive episode than men during their lifetime.)
While there are many similarities among people affected by depressive condition, there are some noteworthy differences between women and men when it comes to depression. Female specific depression conditions include pregnancy and infertility, premenstrual problems, postpartum depression, and menopause.
To complicate matters, women often experience what is called atypical depression. This means that instead of eating less, women eat more, and instead sleeping less, women sleep more.
Men are typically less willing to seek help for depression or admitting to being depressed. This is mainly due to when a man seeks help for depression, it can be seen as a weakness. When looking for indications or symptoms of depression in men, it is important to know that not all signs and symptoms are the same as common depression symptoms. For example, instead of feeling sad for an extended period of time, men often get angry and irritable for an extended duration. Instead of using friends and food for support, men often turn to TV, alcohol, and sports to self medicate.
When women and men move into their golden years, there are many changes seniors experience in which many people are not prepared for. With these changes, it’s not uncommon for a senior to experience a major depressive episode. Common changes among seniors that can lead to depression include medical problems, retirement, loss of loved ones and friends, and isolation. Some of the common signs and systems of depression in seniors include; social withdrawal, sadness, fatigue, weight loss or loss of appetite, loss of self worth, sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.
During the teenage years, there are a number of changes that teens must cope with and adapt to. These changes can include; puberty, social pressures, and trying to find out who they are and where they fit into society. When looking into signs of depression in teens and adolescents, it’s important to know they also have a different set of signs and symptoms compared to adults.
While sadness is common among many adults who are depressed, teens are more likely to show anger, aggressiveness, and hostility. Teens who are depressed sometimes deal with these pressures by using alcohol and drugs, running away, participating in reckless behavior, and sometimes violence.
What Causes Depression?
While there may one event that triggers a depressive episode, there are usually a number of underlying factors that need to be addressed as well. Depression is generally a combination of environmental, biological, genetic, and psychological factors.
Major depressive episodes can be caused by situational events such as a loss of a loved one, relationship problems, divorce, loss of a job, financial trouble, personal trauma, social pressures, and other instances that can affect a person’s overall well being.
While depression is usually genetic, it can also happen to those who have no family history of depression.
How to Treat Depression
After being diagnosed with depression, a combination of psychological sessions / treatments and medication is common when treating people for depression. Unlike other illnesses that can be treated with prescribed medication or surgery, changes in choices that led to the depressive episode and therapy are both instrumental in treatment and recovery.
At Montevista Hospital, here in Las Vegas, patients are offered a free evaluation. If a form of depressive condition is diagnosed, we then work with the patient and involved parties, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for recovery.