Depression may well be the most heavily researched of all emotional disorders. A huge body of scientific literature about depression has evolved which can help inform us about how it develops, how common it is, how it affects people, and what it takes to overcome it. Here are just a few of the things we have come to know about depression:
- also called “clinical depression,” “major depression,” or “unipolar depression.” It is NOT the same as bipolar disorder, or what used to be called manic-depressive illness, a different, though related, disorder.
- the most common mood disorder in the United States- and the world.
- currently the fourth most debilitating human condition (behind heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents) according to the World Health Organization; WHO predicts that by the year 2020 depression will have risen to be the 2 nd most debilitating condition.
- not only biological, despite the too common belief that it’s the result of either “bad genes” or a “chemical imbalance” in the brain.
- caused by many factors; some are biological, some are social, and some are psychological; it is not caused by just one event or factor.
- still growing steadily among all age groups, but most commonly seen in the 25-45 age group.
- growing at the fastest rate in children and adolescents.
- passed from depressed parents to their children in large part through the way they interact, i.e., the patterns parents unwittingly model
- contagious, not in a viral sense, but in a social sense; mood spreads.
- diagnosed more often in women than men, and in some cultures more than others.
- experienced differently in each individual, although there are many common features, Signs and Symptoms
- complicated by the presence of co-existing problems, such as anxiety
- responsive to good treatments that emphasize active skill-building.
- more likely to be recurrent when left untreated.