Most individuals will go through a feeling of sadness or depression at certain points in their lifetime especially under certain circumstances such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, or one of life's many dispositions.
For the majority of individuals These feelings are only temporary and pass within a relatively short period of time, however, when an individual experiences intents levels of sadness and feelings of hopelessness on daily basis or nearly everyday and it interferees with their life, this condition is referred to in the medical field as clinical depression, major depression, or major depressive disorder. Clinical depression is a serious illness that requires professional medical help to overcome.
The Prevalence of Depression
Clinical or major depression affects millions of individuals worldwide regardless of age, race, or economic status. Estimates from various mental health organizations state that ten percent of the population of individuals over the age of eighteen in the United States alone experiences the symptoms of depression and that one hundred and twenty one million people worldwide are affected by depression.
Children are also affected by depression as well and estimates are that approximately one out of every thirty three will develop depression either from genetics or a stressful environment. The prevalence of depression in women is higher than in men with statistics showing that twice as many women suffer from depression than men; however, the rate of suicide among men who suffer from major depression is three times higher than the suicide rate among women with this illness.
Depression also affects the elderly with over six million individuals over the age of sixty five having some form of depression and there is also an increased rate of suicidal tendencies and suicide among older depressed patients. Individuals who have other serious health problems such as cancer, eating disorders, and other debilitating diseases are also prone to developing depression.
Individuals who have major depression are also more susceptible to heart attacks and when suffering a heart attack the recovery time is often longer and the rate of fatality than a heart attack of individuals with depression is also higher. The "World Health Organization" or "WHO" estimates that by the year two thousand and twenty, depression will be the second most common illness in the World.
Depression is Treatable
The symptoms and severity of depression vary and are different in different individuals with some recognizing that there is a problem with the more serious symptoms and others that may just feel "blue" or unhappy most of the time without understanding why. Fortunately, for the majority of individuals who suffer from major depressive disorder this condition can be rapidly diagnosed by a primary care physician and successfully treated.
When receiving the proper treatment that typically consist of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, sixty to eighty percent of individuals will experience a significant relief from their symptoms. In more severe cases of depression when therapy and medications do not help, "ECT" or "electroconvulsive therapy" can be beneficial to some sufferers. Through ongoing research, newer forms of treatment have also been recently made available for the treatment of major depression that has been unresponsive to the typical forms of treatment.