I’m tired. I don’t feel like doing that. I can’t sleep. My back hurts.
These seem like normal complaints, but when a person experiences symptoms like these in great volume, they could be suffering from depression.
Depression is a mood disorder. It can cause significant loss of interest and extreme feelings of sadness. Sometimes people appear to be normal while suffering from depression, when really they are terribly hurting inside.
Depression causes the brain to function abnormally. When depressed, a person’s neurotransmitters aren’t sending correct messages. As a result life may seem worthless.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
“An estimated 16 million American adults—almost 7% of the population—had at least 1 major depressive episode last year. People of all ages and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience depression, but it does affect some groups of people more than others. Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression, and young adults aged 18–25 are 60% more likely to have depression than people aged 50 or older.”
People can feel depressed due to environmental stresses, traumatic experiences, genetics and more.
Depression also has the potential to lead to suicidal thoughts.
Seek help/treatment immediately if you believe you are depressed or know of someone who is.
In case of an emergency, Mayo Clinic advises the following:
- Call your mental health specialist.
- Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Seek help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
If a loved one or friend is in danger of attempting suicide or has made an attempt:
- Make sure someone stays with that person
- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately
- Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room