Some Quick Facts about Depression to Guide Perspective

Depression is:

  • also called “clinical depression,” “major depression,” or “unipolar depression.” It is NOT the same as either Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or bipolar disorder (what used to be called manic-depressive illness). These are different, though may be related, mood disorders.
  • the most common mood disorder in the United States- and the world.
  • currently the second most debilitating human condition in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO); WHO predicted more than a decade ago when it was the fourth most debilitating condition that by the year 2020, depression would rise in prevalence to be the second most debilitating condition, but that unfortunate landmark was reached in late 2013.
  • not only biological, despite the much too common yet erroneous  beliefs that it’s the result of either “bad genes” (there is no single “depression gene” but there are genes that can make you vulnerable to depression) or a “chemical imbalance” in the brain.
  • caused by many factors; some are biological, some are social, and some are psychological; it is not caused by just one event or factor.
  • still growing steadily among all age groups, but most commonly seen in the 25-45 age group.
  • growing at the fastest rate in children and adolescents.
  • passed from depressed parents to their children in large part through the way they interact, i.e., the patterns parents unwittingly model in their values and outlook, including how well they cope with adversities, manage and solve problems, and conduct relationships.
  • contagious, not in a viral sense, but in a social sense; mood and outlook spread.
  • diagnosed more often in women than men, and in some cultures more than others.
  • experienced differently in each individual, although there are many common features across individuals.
  • typically complicated by the presence of other, co-existing problems, such as anxiety or a medical illness.
  • highly responsive to good treatments that emphasize active skill-building.
  • more likely to be recurrent when left untreated.

{Resources to Help You}

These website pages address the mood disorder known as major depressive disorder, or major depression, in general terms. It is not a substitute for professional diagnosis and/or treatment by a qualified mental health professional for any individual. It provides visitors to the site with an expert’s informed perspectives in order to help guide a sensible recovery from the burden of depression.