How do you know if you are suffering from depression?

Depression does not discriminate. Men and women of every age, educational level, and social and economic background suffer from depression. Not only is depression a serious condition, It’s also a common one. The World Health Organization characterizes depression as one of the most disabling disorders in the world, affecting roughly one in five women and one in ten men at some point in their lifetime. It is estimated that 21% of women and 12% of men in the U.S will experience an episode of depression at some point in their lifetime.

Depression is more than just the "blues," being "down in the dumps," or experiencing temporary feelings of sadness we all have from time to time in our lives. It is a serious condition that affects a person's mind and body. It impacts all aspects of everyday life including eating, sleeping, working, relationships, and how a person thinks about himself/herself. People who are depressed cannot simply will themselves to feel better or just "snap out of it." If they do not receive appropriate treatment their symptoms can continue for weeks, months, or years. 

When feelings of intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless -- last for many days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression. The good news is depression is a treatable medical condition.

More good news is that very effective treatments are available to help those who are depressed.  Many people do not seek treatment for depression for a variety of reasons. Some believe that depression is the result of a personal weakness or character flaw. This is simply not true. Like diabetes, heart disease, or any other medical condition, clinical depression is an illness that should be treated by a mental health professional or physician.

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