From: Marion Danh
Project COMPASS Intern
Major depression is a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medicala illness that affects oneís thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. Depression is a lifelong condition in which periods of wellness alternate with recurrences of illness. All age groups and all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups experience depression.
Each year depression affects 5-8 percent of adults in the United States. This means that about 25 million Americans will have an episode of major depression this year alone. Without treatment, the frequency and severity of these symptoms tend to increase over time.
Major depression is also known as clinical depression, major depressive illness, or major affective disorder. It involves some combination of the following symptoms: depressed mood (sadness), poor concentration, insomnia, fatigue, appetite disturbances, excessive guilt and thoughts of suicide. Left untreated, depression can lead to serious impairment in daily functioning and even suicide, which is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Researchers believe that more than one-half of people who die by suicide are experiencing depression. The availability of effective treatments and a better understanding of the biological basis for depression will lessen stigma that can prevent early detection, accurate diagnosis and the decision to seek medical treatment.
I personally have a good friend who has major depression. It has affected her entire life and has even affected those around her. She has been hospitalized four times in a two-month time span for self-harm. Itís a serious condition that many people overlook.