Statistics About Depression

In June of 2020, 31% of U.S. adults reported struggling with depression or anxiety symptoms.

Major Depressive Disorder affects 6.7% of the United States population over age 18, which is about 16.1 million people every year.

Over 8 in 10 people who took a depression screen have scored with symptoms of moderate to severe depression consistently since March 2020.

5 Fast Facts about Depression

Depression in the United States affects over 18 million adults every year.

It is the primary reason people die of suicide every 12 seconds.

It is the leading cause of disability for people ages 15-44.

More women are affected by depression than men.

There are effective treatments for moderate and severe depression.

About Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that requires medical care and can lead to health complications if left untreated. Depression is more than just feeling sad, and it’s different from typical mood fluctuations or normal emotional responses to life’s challenges. Depression interferes with everyday activities such as work and relationships.

Types of depression

 

  • Major depressive disorder – the more severe form of depression. It’s characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that don’t go away.
  • Persistent depressive disorder – a milder but chronic form of depression. Symptoms, such as loss of interest in regular activities, must last for at least 2 years for a diagnosis of PDD to be made.
  • Seasonal depression – this type of depression is when your mood is affected by seasonal changes, commonly beginning in October or November. Symptoms include daytime fatigue, unhappiness, lethargy.
  • Postpartum depression – this type of depression affects mothers and fathers after childbirth, causing severe mood swings, exhaustion and a sense of hopelessness.
  • Psychotic depression – this type of depression is accompanied by hallucinations, delusions or paranoia.

 

Symptoms of depression

  • Extreme irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Anger
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Persistent sad feelings
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of helplessness

In order to receive a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, these symptoms need to persist for at least two weeks.

Causes of depression

  • Trauma – traumatic events in early childhood can affect the way your brain responds to fear and stress.
  • Genetics – Depression is hereditary. There is about a 40% chance of inheriting depression if a first-degree family member has the condition.
  • Drug and alcohol misuse – a history of substance use can increase your risk for depression. 21% of adults with a substance use disorder also experienced a major depressive episode in 2018.
  • Brain changes – a less active frontal lobe is one cause of depression.
  • Other medical conditions – certain medical conditions can increase your risk for depression, including chronic illness, cancer, insomnia, chronic pain, or ADHD.

Risks of Untreated Depression

As mentioned above, depression is a medical condition that requires treatment and poses risks if left untreated. Some of the side effects of untreated depression include:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Social isolation
  • Substance use problems
  • Physical pain, such as headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Relationship problems
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Trouble with school or work
  • Self-harm

Depression can also worsen existing conditions. Conditions that can get worse due to depression include:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

depression Treatment

Depression is among the most treatable mental disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, there is help available, and it’s important to reach out.

Treatments for depression include:

  • Brain stimulation therapies – this type of treatment is only to be used for severe depression, and if therapy and medication have not been effective.
  • Psychotherapy – also called talk therapy. Certain types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are especially effective at improving depression. CBT helps a person to recognize distorted/negative thinking with the goal of changing thoughts and behaviors to respond to challenges in a more positive manner.
  • Medications – antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. These medications are not habit forming. Results can sometimes be seen in a few weeks, but can take up to a few months. If one type of medication isn’t working, your doctor can try a different dose or a different type of drug.
  • Alternative approaches – acupuncture, meditation, faith and nutrition can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
  • Light therapy – Exposure to doses of white light can help regulate your mood and improve symptoms of depression.

Self-care can also improve depression symptoms. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself to manage your depression:

  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs – these substances can make depression worse.
  • Exercise – 30 minutes of activity 3-5 times a week can help prevent mild to moderate depression symptoms.
  • Eat a healthy diet – your brain responds to what you eat and drink. Essential nutrients help your brain function properly.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene – limit screen time before bed, go to bed at the same time every night, and try meditation before bed to improve your sleep.
  • Setting boundaries – don’t take on too many responsibilities in your professional or personal life.
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