What is depression? 

To answer this question, let’s start with the facts. Here are ten things you might not know about disease that affects almost 300 million people globally.

  1. Depression encompasses Major Depressive Disorder, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety disorder and suicide.
  2. Depression represents 99% of all mental illness, with schizophrenia and major psychotic illness representing the other 1%.
  3. Daily exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce depression symptoms.
  4. Severe depression is rated in the same disability category as terminal stage cancer.
  5. Two thirds of people with depression do not receive treatment.
  6. Nearly 50% of people diagnosed with depression are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
  7. There is one death by suicide every twelve minutes in the United States.
  8. Personal or family history of depression, major life changes, trauma, stress, and some medications increase the likelihood of developing depression.[
  9. Depression receives 1/100th of the funding that breast cancer receives annually, despite the fact that about as many people die from suicide each year as the number of people who die from breast cancer.
  10. There’s an interrelationship between depression and physical health. For example, depression can lead to cardiovascular disease and vice versa.

Depression is a global issue

Taking those facts into account, it’s even more startling to learn that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

As of 2016, the United States, India, and China boast the highest rates of depression. 

In contrast, Finland regularly tops the annual charts as the “happiest” country. But this grand title has its own set of challenges, making those in Finland who do suffer from depression more likely to feel flawed or weak.. 

Stigma against people who experience mental health issues has only begun to fall out of fashion, thanks in part to a greater scientific understanding of the issue as well as increased awareness advocacy by governments and NGOs.. 

That said, increasing dependence on technology, financial pressures, social media addiction especially among adolescents, and socio-political and environmental realities have certainly done nothing to quell the tide of depression diagnoses.

Unique among mental illnesses, depression is simultaneously a brain disorder and a state of mind. 

Fortunately, there are known pharmacological and psychological treatments available for mild, moderate and severe depression. Antidepressants can be an effective form of treatment for adults experiencing moderate to severe depression.The majority of people who take antidepressants will also go to some form of therapy. 

There are various types of therapy used to address depression, most common is cognitive behavioral therapy.

Most Importantly

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish).