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Quick Guide: Depression in a Nutshell

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Since 1949 the United States has commemorated the month of May as a time to raise awareness about mental health issues. According to the American Psychological Association, one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime. Mental health is often stigmatized, forcing many to either ignore this problem altogether or to address it in ways that are actually harmful instead of helpful. There’s no better time than Mental Health Awareness Month to educate yourself about mental health issues. Starting with one of the most common psychological problems in society – depression.

What is Depression?
Depression is a psychological condition characterized by prolonged feelings of stress and sadness. It is a common condition that may be diagnosed when a person has been feeling down and dejected for long stretches of time. Depressed people typically lose all pleasure in regular activities, and struggle to find the motivation to engage in daily routines. Symptoms of depression can include low self-esteem, a sense of hopelessness, guilt, and general indifference. Depression can make it difficult for a person to concentrate and even remember things, and in extreme cases, pessimism induced by depression can lead to self-harm and thoughts of suicide.

What Causes Depression?
Depression is rarely ever triggered by one main cause. There’s usually a combination of biological, social, and environmental factors that collaborate to induce depression. Even though there are a variety of elements that contribute to depression, everything which triggers depression can be classified into two specific categories: internal triggers, and external triggers. Internal triggers are things that have to do with personality traits or physical condition, whereas external triggers have to do with life events and personal experiences.

Depression is a complicated problem to address because it can often be hidden very well by those who suffer from it. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 350 million people suffer from depression on a global scale. These statistics essentially mean that if you aren’t already suffering from depression yourself, chances are you know someone who is struggling with either a mild or severe form of it. Thankfully, depression doesn’t have to be a chronic condition as long as steps are taken to treat it. If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression, seek counseling from a licensed therapist as soon as possible. You are not suffering alone, and there are plenty of professionals out there who can help you find peace and happiness again. All it takes is a little courage to make the first step.

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