- Depression is an illness
- Genetics can play some role
- Can be triggered by major life events including divorce
- Get professional help
- Depression can be successfully treated
Depression is an illness
Depression is an illness and is not temporarily feeling "blue". Symptoms include
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
In any given 1-year period, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 20.9 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness1.
Some types of depression run in families, suggesting that a biological vulnerability can be inherited. Not everyone with the genetic vulnerability will develop the disease suggesting that additional factors play a role.
People who have low self-esteem, who consistently view themselves and the world with pessimism or who are readily overwhelmed by stress, are prone to depression. Whether this represents a psychological predisposition or an early form of the illness is not clear.
A serious loss, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any stressful (unwelcome or even desired) change in life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. Very often, a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors is involved in the onset of a depressive disorder. Later episodes of illness typically are precipitated by only mild stresses, or none at all.
Divorce is a highly stressful life event. This can trigger depression by itself or the stress from subsequent pressures such as parenting alone or financial problems can act as the trigger.
Depression is not something you can shake off or think your way out of.