Depression

Depression is not something you can “snap out of.” It is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals along with other factors. Depression is often described as a “black curtain” or “dark hole” from which individuals find difficulty in escaping. Many people feel like they have no energy and can’t concentrate.

Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression. This may be triggered in hormonal changes in the body due to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy/child birth or menopause.

Men have a lesser risk of depression than women, yet are more likely to go undiagnosed and not receive treatment. Symptoms in men may vary and may include anger and hostility, which may be masked by use of drugs or alcohol.

Elderly may lose loved ones and have to adjust to living alone. They may have physical illnesses and become less active. These experiences may contribute to depression. The elderly are less likely to discuss their symptoms and will often be overlooked by loved ones who assume these signs are a normal part of the aging process.

When present, depression affects you, your family, your work and outside interests. However, depression is treatable.

Depression—Some Warning Signs

  • Depressed mood (may be irritable mood in children or adolescence)
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities that used to bring pleasure
  • Significant increase or decrease in weight
  • Change in sleep pattern (more or less than average)
  • Change in usual activity pattern (may range from restlessness to sitting idly)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt or worrying
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate, make decisions, remember
  • Recurrent thought of death or thoughts/plan for suicide

For additional information on depression, see the Resources section.