Facts about Depression

by Bonnie Doran

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 17 million Americans suffer from depressive illness each year. About twice as many women are affected as men. Although medication and psychotherapy can help 80 to 90 percent of depressed people, only one third of them will seek treatment.

Depression is likely present when a person experiences five or more of the following symptoms almost every day for two weeks:

  • loss of pleasure in formerly enjoyable activities, including sex
  • significant changes in sleep patterns, such as oversleeping or insomnia
  • significant changes in weight or appetite
  • fatigue or loss of energy
  • feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, or withdrawal
  • inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • irritability
  • excessive crying
  • chronic aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide