Depression is a mental disorder affecting children, teenagers, adults, and older adults. When it strikes, debilitating sadness often occurs that affects someone’s ability to function and carry out daily tasks. It can have a variety of causes, including life events and illnesses. The condition may also have a dangerous correlation with other adverse health outcomes, such as obesity and heart disease.
What is Depression?
Nearly everyone has an off day or periodic feelings of sadness. However, it is a prevalent mental illness, with estimates that one out of every ten adults in the United States struggles with it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With depression, a person experiences overwhelming sadness or apathy that interferes with the ability to function. To meet the criteria for diagnosis, specific symptoms must be present that interfere with sleep, eating, self-image, energy, and concentration for at least two weeks. Also, the symptoms cannot be associated with another cause, such as bereavement, physical illness, or substance use.