Recognize and Understand the Symptoms of Depression

(Photo: Women's Health Magazine)

In light of the recently reported suicide of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams, Women's Health Magazine wanted to take the opportunity to discuss the seriousness of depression. This mental illness is often overlooked or brushed aside. It is important to understand and recognize depression as it could help to save a life.

Depression is more than just feeling down or sad—it is a debilitating mental illness that can take on several forms, including major depressive disorder (an episode of severe symptoms which often reoccurs), persistent depressive disorder (depression lasting for at least two years), psychotic depression (symptoms of depression along with delusions or hallucinations), postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder (depression that mainly occurs in the winter months).

According to the latest data from the CDC, an estimated 1 in 10 Americans currently suffers from depression. And women are 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed than men are.

While there are many signs of depression—like persistent feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in activities, and changes in sleeping and eating patterns—one of the most serious symptoms is suicidal ideation, or thoughts of suicide. In fact, depression is the most common mental disorder associated with suicide. And shockingly, a recent report from the CDC found that the suicide rate among adults aged 35-64 increased 28.4 percent from 1999 to 2010, with an estimated 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2010. As of 2010, more adults died from suicide than from car crashes.


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