What is depression?

Major depression is a serious medical illness that affects approximately 14 million Americans.1 Depression can cause ongoing sadness that changes how a person thinks, feels, and acts every day. While medication can help manage symptoms for many people, it is estimated that approximately 4 million patients do not benefit from taking standard antidepressant medication.1

Depression Facts:
  • Women are more likely than men to suffer from depression11
  • Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide11
  • Depression has no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries12
  • Researchers estimate that by the year 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disease burden—impact on length and health of lives—worldwide11,13

What causes depression?

While the exact cause of depression is not known, the leading scientific theory is that it is caused by an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells.

While antidepressant drugs work for many people, some still do not receive adequate treatment.1 For these patients, the effects of depression can still be debilitating. These patients need a proven, safe depression treatment option.

Depression Facts:
  • Depression is a serious medical illness that lasts two weeks or more and interferes with a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks and enjoy activities that previously brought pleasure.
  • Depression is a serious illness. In the United States, depression affects approximately 14 million people, according to a national prevalence survey of more than 9,000 people age 18 or older.1
  • The United States National Institute of Mental Health maintains that, “Depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally.” Depression causes pain and suffering not only to those who have the disorder, but to those who care about them.14 Depression can be a lethal disease leading to more than 1 million deaths from suicide each year.11 Along with being a huge economic burden, depression is a leading cause of disease burden and disability around the world.11,12,13 Researchers estimate that by the year 2030, depression will be the leading cause of disease burden worldwide.12
  • There is no known cure for depression. However, with effective treatment, many patients can remain symptom free and can lead normal lives.
  • Depression is known to be hereditary so depression may occur in some people who have a particular genetic makeup that makes them more likely to develop depression. However, the exact nature of these genetic characteristics is not known. Other factors may contribute to an individual’s likelihood of experiencing depression. Some of these risk factors include:
  • Individuals suffering from certain medical illnesses such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and hormonal disorders
  • Individuals experiencing serious personal losses, difficult relationships, financial problems, or any stressful changes in life pattern
  • Individuals taking certain medications that may increase their vulnerability to depression

According to the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, depression is diagnosed when an individual is experiencing a depressed mood, a loss of interest or enjoyment, and reduced energy leading to diminished activity. Other common depression symptoms include15:

  • Reduced concentration or attention
  • Reduced self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Ideas of guilt and unworthiness
  • Bleak and pessimistic view of the future
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Diminished appetite
  • Ideas of self-harm or suicide

Taken directly from Neurostar’s website.