Mental illness is the number one disability in those 18 to 24 years old in the United States and is second only to blindness in the rest of the population. Depression is the most common mental illness and the leading cause of disability in the world.
In fact, as of 2017, there are more than 300 million individuals around the globe suffering from depression and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), most of them are women. Why is that? Is it because women feel things more deeply than men or that we are more apt to ask for help? Maybe men can hide it better. It does not matter what the reason; the most important thing is to get help. However, depression is not just feeling unhappy for a few days.
Are You Depressed?
Everyone feels sad sometimes, but that does not mean you have a depressive disorder. Sadness is a natural feeling that is completely normal. There are several different types of depression, and they can each be mild, moderate, or severe. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the most common types of depression include:
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
This is a relatively new disorder due to the over-diagnosis of bipolar disorder in adolescents, and it is usually discovered before the child is 10 years old. The main symptoms of DMDD are constant and severe irritability, temper tantrums, damage to property, hurting themselves or others, three or more times per week.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
MDD is the most common mental disorder of women in the United States, and it affects12.3% of all women. Some of the symptoms include sadness most of the day, every day; lack of pleasure in activities every day; weight loss or gain; chronic pain; insomnia or excessive sleeping; loss of energy; guilt or feeling worthless; inability to concentrate or make decisions; and thoughts of suicide.
Chronic Depressive Disorder (CDD)
CDD has the same symptoms as bothDMDD and MDD, except it, lasts for more than two years. In fact, in most who get the disorder, it can last a lifetime. It also affects women more than men.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Depression (PDD)
PDD is a real condition that many believe (mainly the men) is just an excuse to be cranky. The signs of PDD include extreme sensitivity, sudden bouts of crying, mood swings, anger, tiredness, depression, anxiety, and restlessness.
What Causes Depression?
The cause of depression is still not completely understood, as is true with most mental disorders. However, psychology professionals have determined it may be from abnormalities of the brain(amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex)caused by genetics. The most common factors include:
- Brain chemistry– dysfunctional neurotransmitters
- Hormone changes– pregnancy and other medical conditions can cause hormonal changes
- Inherited – depression is more common in those whose relatives have depression
- Drug or alcohol use– any kind of drug or alcohol use can trigger a depressive disorder
- Certain medical conditions– such as cancer
- Environmental situations – such as abuse, job loss, or the death of a family member or friend
Help is Available
If you or someone you know has symptoms of depression, you should speak to your doctor or a mental health provider right away. There are medications and treatments that can help immensely. Remember, it does not make you weak to ask for help. In fact, it shows that you are strong enough to admit you need some help. Talk to someone. Anyone. Betterhelp.com/start/ provides licensed therapists and psychologists online you can speak to without even leaving your home. You do not have to feel sad all the time. Talk to someone today.