Millions of people in the U.S. cope with depression, a chronic and treatable condition. Overall, more than 16 million adults in the U.S. suffer from major depressive disorder in a given year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Major depresssive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people ages 15 to 43, the ADAA reports. Persistent depressive disorder, which was once known as dysthymia, is a condition that typically persists for at least two years. PDD affects about 3.3 million adults in a given year, the ADAA says. The condition cuts across all socioeconomic lines: Celebrities like rock star Bruce Springsteen and actor and former wrestling star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have publicly written and talked about their struggles with depression.
“Feeling sad or down is a common experience, particularly following certain situations such as losing a job, a relationship breakup or the loss of a loved ones,” says Dr. Dale A. Peeples, a psychiatrist and an associate professor at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. “For many, these feelings will subside with time. However, a person may develop clinical depression or (experience) a depressive episode, when the depressed mood is present most of the day, almost every day.”
Depression symptoms can include:
- Loss of interest in participating in previously enjoyable activities. Significant changes in appetite.
- Sleep difficulties.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- Difficulties with concentration.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
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