Know if You Have Chronic Depression


About 5 to 8 percent of men and women -- or 24 million people -- over the age of 18 are affected with chronic depression each year in the United States. It is a leading cause of disability, costing the country more than $80 billion per year in lost productivity.

Depression is more than just "sadness" or "the blues." It is serious medical illness that needs to be accurately diagnosed and properly treated in order for people to lead active and healthy lives.

How Do I Know if I Suffer from Depression?

If you think you may be experiencing depression, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider in order to receive an accurate diagnosis.

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (referred to as DSM-IV), the diagnostic criteria for depression include the following symptoms, which need to last longer than two weeks:

  • • Depressed mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness)
  • • Reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed
  • • Change in appetite or weight (up or down)
  • • Sleep disturbances (either not being able to sleep well or sleeping too much)
  • • Feeling agitated or slowed down
  • • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • • Feeling worthless or excessive guilt
  • • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or troubles making decisions about things
  • • Suicidal thoughts or intentions

Who Is at Risk for Depression?

Depression does not discriminate. It affects men and women of all ages and races. For reasons not yet fully understood, depression does affect women more frequently than men.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Health


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