Did you know that depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than per year in absenteeism and lost productivity?
A little over half of people surveyed (54%) believe that depression is not a true illness but a form of personal weakness.
Most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem. In fact, the process of sadness and grieving is an important part of recovering from a major life event.
But when feelings of intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless — last for weeks and keep you from functioning normally, it may be something more than sadness. It may very well clinical depression — a true medical condition.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest lasting more than 2 weeks. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
A person with depression may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may cause feelings of guilt or low self-worth, feelings of tiredness or as if life isn’t worth living.
The human body is a very complex machine with the different parts functioning separately yet together, seamlessly as a whole organism. The brain, like the kidneys or the heart has many functions. One of those functions is to regulate our mood, our feelings and how we respond to life around us. When this function of the brain is compromised or disordered, depression, mania or anxiety can result.
Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s, but it can happen at any age. More women are diagnosed with depression than are men.
There are many factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression:
- Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
- Traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or financial problems
- Genetics – Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide
- History of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs – Some people with depression misuse substances when they feel bad, while for others, heavy use of alcohol or illicit substances can cause symptoms of depression.
- Serious or chronic illness, including cancer, stroke, chronic pain, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease can trigger depression.
- Childbirth – Postpartum depression occurs in some women soon after giving birth. Symptoms include sadness and hopelessness.
- The elderly – possibly due to feelings of helplessness, vulnerability, lack of relevance, loss of vitality, increased dependence on others, isolation, chronic illness, etc.