Depression is a whole body-mind illness that affects person’s thoughts, mood, physical health and ability to function in everyday life. It is more than just feeling down or blue for a few days. Typical symptoms of depression are feelings of persistent sadness, fear, hopelessness and helplessness, pessimism, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, inability to concentrate and take pleasure and interests in life. In severe cases depression can even lead to suicidal thoughts.
Depression or anxiety is not a sign of personal weakness or character flaw. It is a medical illness linked to changes in the biochemistry of the brain and it affects person’s personal, social and professional life. Besides biological, other causes for depression can be genetic, environmental and psychological.
Depression is a common condition that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. It afflicts approximately 340 million people in the world and 17 million Americans, from children to the elderly. Depression affects twice as many women as men. According to the World Health Organization, depressive disorder is expected to become the second leading cause of health impairment worldwide (after cardiovascular diseases) by the year 2020.
Depression is highly treatable. Treatments for depression can range from depression medications to much gentler natural treatments with little or no side effects and self help treatments complementing other therapies. Without a treatment, depressed person's life can be severely restricted for months or years. The sooner a treatment starts, the better chances for recovery are.