We all feel “down” or sad sometimes, but usually it doesn’t last. Clinical depression is different. No matter how much you want to “get over it,” it just doesn’t go away. You may find yourself more tearful than usual. People tell me they feel that a dark cloud is hovering over them, or that it is as though they are wearing a heavy coat of gloom.
Here are some distressing statistics: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 17 million Americans become depressed every year, and recent research indicates that the number may be closer to 20 million. One out of five adults — twice as many women as men — experiences depression at some point.
Less than half the people suffering from depression actually get professional help. Does the following sound like a description of someone in your life?
- It’s hard to do things that used to be fun.
- “Not the person I used to love.”
- Irritability, complaining
- Making decisions is a problem
- Sluggishness, restlessness
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Talk of dying or death
If those symptoms sound familiar, the person you care about may be suffering depression. Talk therapy, or talk therapy and an antidepressant medication, can bring hope and progress toward a more satisfying life.