More than 16 million adults in the USA had at least one major depressive episode within the last year. The World Health Organization estimates that 300 million people worldwide experience ongoing depression, making it the leading cause of disability in the world. Mental health experts say depression is treatable. The problem is, only about half of those who are dealing with symptoms seek out treatment. Depression can be triggered by circumstances or it may be an ongoing condition, and it can negatively affect the physical body as well as one's thought processes and day-to-day life.
Distinguishing between a situational case of the blues and an ongoing depressive disorder is important. When they happen occasionally, sadness, grief, anxiety, guilt, or irritability are normal human emotions. A few sleepless nights, an occasional loss of appetite, or a lack of motivation is also not unusual for most adults. But if the unhappy emotions continue or interfere with the ability to perform day-to-day activities, these are symptoms of a depressive disorder. Recurring symptoms or symptoms that last longer than a few days could indicate a depressive condition that requires medical intervention.
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