Depression Awareness: Do You Recognize the Symptoms?

depressionDepression is the most common form of mental illness, affecting 19 million Americans every single year. The condition likely affects someone you know, but how much do you know about depression? Are you able to recognize the symptoms of depression in another person, or even yourself? October is designated as National Depression Awareness Month, so it is the perfect time to increase your own understanding of this disease.

Who Experiences Depression?

Depression is a condition that affects people of all races, genders and ages. The very young, the very old and everyone in between is susceptible to depression.

What Causes Depression?

There is no single cause for depression. Depression appears to be affected by a complex group of factors including genetics, environment and psychological stressors.

Is all Depression the Same?

Depression wears several faces. Major depression is a serious form of the condition which can be limiting to the person, keeping them from school or work and making it hard for them to meet everyday responsibilities. Dysthymia is a milder form of depression which affects an individual for weeks, months or years. Bipolar disorder is a severe form of depression, once referred to as manic depression.

What Does Depression Look Like?

There are degrees of depression and therefore not all depression looks exactly alike. However, in order to be diagnosed with depression, a person will exhibit at least two or three of the following for several consecutive weeks: too much or too little sleep, more or less appetite, withdrawal from people and formerly enjoyed activities, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, trouble focusing, listlessness.

Why is Recognizing Depression Important?

It’s important to recognize depression so that the person can begin treatment. With treatment, many of those with diagnosable depression experience a full recovery. Untreated depression can complicate other existing health conditions and, in the worst situations, can lead to suicide.

At Family Guidance Center we understand that many things can trigger depression. We’ve helped men, women, children and the elderly find relief from the weight of depression. If, through reading this article, you recognize symptoms in yourself or someone you love that have lasted at least two weeks, stop by and talk to one of our mental health professionals.