Navigating Depression + Your Journey
What is depression? According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression (or Major Depressive Disorder, MDD) is described as:
"a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. [...] Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home."
When considering depression, it is often referred to as a “depressive episode.” There are certain kinds of depression that linger longer, but many times, a depressive episode is time-bound. Depression can range from a mild inconvenience to a debilitating impairment, and should be taken seriously. The good news is that it’s treatable. Read on for more information about depression and how it may impact our alcohol-free journey.
How common is depression?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, at least 17.3 million adults experienced a major depressive episode in the US in the year of 2017. Depression appears to be more prevalent in women; adult females had a prevalence of major depression at a rate of 8.7%, while men had a prevalence of major depression at a rate of 5.3% of the overall population. Of note, those reporting two or more races had the highest rates of depression (11.3%). Depression is also a significant impairment among young adults, with 13.3% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17 experiencing at least one depressive episode. As with adults, this disproportionately affects young women (20%) vs. young men (6.8%).
What are the symptoms of depression?
Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of energy or increased fatigue
Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide
These symptoms can range from mild to severe, but they can be treated with medical and therapeutic intervention.