Depression is common but can be a serious mood disorder. It can cause serious symptoms that affect how your feel, think, and handle daily activities. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 17.4 million adults in the U.S. have had at least one major depressive episode (clinical depression) in their lives, that's 7.1% of all U.S. adults. There are higher rates for::

Females (8.7% compared to males 5.3%

Individuals 18-25 yrs of age at 13.1%

Individuals who reported being of 2 or more races at 11.3%

Statistics from  2017, cited from

Depression commonly manifests physically, through stomach pains, headaches, disrupted or excessive sleep, and motor control difficulty. While the causes of depression are unknown, a predisposition for it runs in families and it can be triggered by trauma and adverse life circumstances. Depression is diagnosed more frequently in women including post-partum pregnancy-related depression and tends to display differently in women than in men. It may be linked to earlier abuse or other kinds of trauma or PTSD.

People tend to suffer higher rates of depression in late fall or winter months when days shorten and around holidays. Depression and anxiety often exacerbate each other and people with depression commonly have difficulty concentrating on tasks and conversations. Some people abuse alcohol and drugs or overeat as a way of coping, causing them to develop other medical problems. Depressed people are also at increased risk for self-harm.

Depression is characterized by prolonged emotional symptoms including:

    • Apathy
    • Sadness
    • Guilt
    • Exhaustion
    • Irritability

A person must have been experiencing symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression; this can be assessed by a licensed counselor, social worker, or psychotherapist; primary care physician or psychiatrist. Every case is unique and requires individual attention to rule out medical issues or other disorders.  In addition, there are a number of effective complementary ways of treating depression, including:

    • Talk therapy, including solution-focused or cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
    • Trauma-specific therapies, if needed
    • Medications
    • Adopting a healthier lifestyle focused on self-care, nutrition and exercise

If a person suffering from depression is having thoughts of suicide or "wishing I wasn't here," the urgency of seeking help from a physician, mental health professional, or emergency room is increased.  Get help right away!   In Colorado, there is a statewide crisis line. If help is needed, please call 1-844-493-8255 or text "TALK" to 38255. Outside Colorado you can call 1-800-273-8255.

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