Raise your hand if you have never heard the word “depression”?
It is very unlikely that you haven’t in one instance or the other, heard about this word.
Infact, it is a trending nightmare that floods our timelines and the media frequently. People get depressed from failed personal or relationship expectations.
For those of us that have stopped by this blog just to read this article, it speaks volumes of the fact that you definitely want to get help, either for yourself or for some other person.
However, whatever the motivation is, be rest assured that you’re at the right place with scientifically up-to-date information on the subject matter.
Quick Facts on Depression
Before we go on, let’s see quick facts on depression:
(1) Two thirds of people with depression do not know it is treatable, hence don’t seek expert help.
(2) Depressed people often feel stigmatized as they feel it’s a personal weakness.
(3) Depressed people when they present themselves for medical help in a clinical setting, often complain of headache, fatigue, sleep disturbances or abdominal distress.
Note: These symptoms do not mean you’re suffering from depression. You have to be properly diagnosed by a medical practitioner should you suspect you’re depressed. This series will help you know if you or a loved one is likely suffering from depression.
What the statistics say
One out of three people are likely to experience a major depressive episode at some stage in their lives and these affects diverse people across different age groups and culture.
Children and Adolescents
* In a study, incidence rates increased steadily from preschool-aged children (0.9%), school-aged children (1.9%) and adolescents (4.7%).
* Both pre-pubertal boys and girls suffer equally from depression.
* Female high school students are twice as more likely to report depression symptoms than their male high school counterparts.
* Adolescents aged 11-16 are prone to suffer major depression.
* Teens within the age of 15-18 are most vulnerable to depression due to the growth and sexual changes the experience in their body.
* As income decreases, the average rate of incidence of depression increased.
* People aged 25-44 are more susceptible and depression chances increase with age particularly when it is associated with another illness or institutionalization
United States statistics
* Between 2009 and 2012, 7.6% of Americans aged 12 and above experienced either a moderate or severe depression for a period of 2 weeks.
* Females within 40-59 years had higher prevalence rates than males within the same age bracket.
* Approximately 16.1 million adults aged 18 and above, which is a representative of 6.7% of US adults as of 2015, had experienced one or more depressive episode in the past year.
* Non-Hispanic whites had lower rates of depressive symptoms than Hispanic and non-Hispanic blacks.But the moment poverty was introduced as a casual factor for depression, the non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks were all vulnerable.
The US statistics of the adult population given above is a fair representation of the international communities.
* One-month depression prevalence estimation in the elderly had a relative consistency i.e. Nigeria, 1.6%; England, 2.9%; The Netherlands, 2.0%; Sweden, 5.6%;
* Limited data exist on the global incidence of major depression in children and adolescents.
* Females had 14.8% chances of developing depression while males had 9.8% rates.
* The World Health Organization(WHO) found depressive disorders to be similar in symptoms across cultures in Switzerland, Iran, Canada, Iran and Japan
Am I just sad or am I depressed?
Good question, deserving a good answer!
You know, sadness at times can be a difficult emotion to handle, perhaps not because of the pain it causes, but also due to some causative factors of the sad feelings in the first place. Sadness could be caused by disappointment, loss of a loved one, or helplessness among many other things.
However, it is key to remember that sadness is one of the many human emotions that can be experienced by different age groups. And like someone rightly said about sadness, “it can help us value our happy moments”.
It is okay to feel sad and despair due to these things that have been mentioned already. In most instances, those feelings of sadness usually resolve as we embrace whatever unpleasant event that we encountered in life.
In the death of a loved one for instance, these feelings can continue for weeks and months and would likely show up again at critical times such as during an anniversary or birthday related to the deceased person. So long as we have moments when we can revel in things, however, such sadness isn’t anyway close to depression.
But the moment sadness becomes deepen, that may be an alarm that you’re going through some form of depression. If you think your height of sadness is increased as well as becoming difficult to control, then you might just be at the very verge of depression and this piece is about to help you understand everything you need to know about depression.
So what Is Depression?
Depression is a disorder characterized by three main symptoms – excessive sadness, low motivation and loss of interest.
To define depression, we might want to look at what is considered as a standard definition. In that ragard a definition given by The American Psychiatric Association is worth the mention. In their manual, The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), depression (or a depressive disorder), is classified as:
“A disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, major depressive disorder (including major depressive episode), persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and depressive disorder due to to another medical condition”
Pardon the complicated medical jargons in the above definition. We will try to simplify these clinical termsin our next article.
As we wrap us this particular issue, here are some points for you to take home:
When you persistently experience sadness, emptiness, or irritable mood, alongside certain physical and behavioural changes that drastically influence your capacity to function well in your day to day activities especially in those things you enjoy doing most, that is – depression!
Hoever, the time, causes and duration you experience of any of these physical features associated with depression would differ. Therefore, the types and symptoms of depression and other causative factors are some of the issues we will be tackling in our next article in this series on depression.