Depression: It’s Not Just in Your Head
Everyone, at various times in life, feels sad or blue. It’s normal to feel sad on occasion. Sometimes, sadness is a result of things that happen in your life: for example, you move to a different city and leave friends behind…you lose your job…or a loved one dies. But what’s the difference between “normal” feelings of sadness and the feelings caused by depression?
- How intense the mood is: Depression is more intense than a simple “bad mood.”
- How long the mood lasts: A bad mood is usually gone in a few days, but depression lasts two weeks or longer.
- How much it interferes with your life: A bad mood doesn’t keep you from going to work or school or spending time with friends. Depression can keep you from doing these things and may even make it difficult to get out of bed.
While it’s normal for people to experience ups and downs during their lives, those living with depression experience specific symptoms daily for two weeks or more, making it difficult to function at work, at school or in relationships.
Depression is a treatable illness marked by changes in mood, thought and behavior. It affects people of all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes. Although it can occur at any age, the illness often surfaces between the ages of 25 and 44. The “lifetime prevalence” of depression is 24 percent for women and 15 percent for men. This means that, at some point in their lives, 24 percent of women and 15 percent of men will experience an episode of major depression.