Depression is a medical condition that can affect a person’s ability to work, study, interact with people or take care of themselves. Many of us have felt sad or alone at some point. When sadness becomes too much to handle, or lingers for a long time, it may be a sign of depression. Depression is a medical condition that can affect people’s ability to work, study, interact with people or take care of themselves. It can be caused by imbalances in brain chemistry. But it can also be triggered by stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss, and school or relationship difficulties.
Not everyone experiences depression in the same way. Depressed people may appear withdrawn and despondent, or they may be aggressive and self-destructive. Some people may be depressed about a specific problem, while others feel deeply unhappy without knowing why. Sometimes, a depressed person may even appear “fine” to their friends and family. The common thread, however, is an overwhelming, persistent feeling of despair.
Depression affects about 19 million people in the United States every year. Depression can occur as a one-time incident during a time of distress, or it can recur throughout a person’s life. The first episode of depression often appears during the young adult years.
The good news is that depression is highly treatable. There are many available methods to treat depression, including medication and/or counseling. Between 80 and 90% of people who are treated for depression experience significant improvement, and almost all individuals gain some relief from their symptoms. It’s important to realize that depression can last months, or even years, if left untreated. If you or someone you know may be depressed, contact your school’s health center. The health center can connect you with a therapist or group counseling.
People who are depressed sometimes think about suicide. It’s important to seek help immediately if you or someone you know is having these thoughts.
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