A depressive disorder involves the body, mood, and thoughts. People who are depressed cannot "snap out of it" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for months or years. Treatments such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy can reduce and sometimes eliminate the symptoms of depression.
- Depressive disorders affect 20 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
- Everyone will at some time in their life be affected by depression -- their own or someone else's, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.)
- Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers -- over a million -- are clinically depressed.
- The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23%.
- 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
- 30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.
- 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
- 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
- 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.
- 92% of depressed African-American males do not seek treatment.
- 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than $51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills.
Three of the most common forms of depressive disorders are:
-- Major Depression
-- Bipolar Disorder
Even within these types of depression there are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence.
Major depression is manifested by a combination of symptoms (see symptom list below) that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Some people have a single episode of depression, but many have episodes that recur.
Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression that lasts a long time but involves less severe symptoms. If you suffer from dysthymia you probalby lead a normal life, but you may not be functioning well or feeling good. People with dysthymia may also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives.
Bipolar Disorder (also called manic-depression) is another type of depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is thought to be less common than other depressive disorders. If you have bipolar disorder you are troubled by cycling mood swings - usually severe highs (mania) and lows (depression). The mood swings are sometimes dramatic and rapid, but usually are more gradual. When in the depressed stage, a person can have any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When in the manic stage, the individual may be overactive, over-talkative, and have a great deal of energy. Mania affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior, sometimes in ways that cause serious problems and embarrassment. A person in a manic phase may feel elated, full of grand schemes that might range from unwise business decisions to romantic sprees. Mania, left untreated, may worsen to a psychotic state, where the person is out of touch with reality.