Who does depression affect?
Depression can affect anyone, irrespective of sex, race, or age. Women are diagnosed nearly twice as often as men, and the most frequently diagnosed age group is 25-44. Adolescents are the fastest growing group of people diagnosed.
Regardless of the statistics, what matters most to you is how you feel. It may be helpful to you to know, though, that nearly 20 million Americans suffer depression, and the rates in every age group are on the rise. Many people are clearly struggling, and the need for effective help is obvious. Depression is more than an individual problem.
What can you do?
It’s often normal to feel depressed. Since anyone, from children to the elderly, will most likely feel sad many times in their lives, the important thing is to know when “normal sadness” is turning into something more serious.
First examine how long you have been depressed. Has it just been a week or two and you are responding to an unfortunate situation, like a job loss or death of a family member? If so, that’s an understandable reaction. You may want to seek the support of therapy, but probably not for clinical depression.
However, if you have been feeling depressed or sad for more than just a few weeks (regardless of whether or not you are responding to a difficult situation), you may be clinically depressed, especially if it is interfering in your daily life (hurting your relationships, leading you to make poor decisions, etc.).
At such a point you must take charge of your health even if helpless feelings get in your way. Helplessness is a viewpoint, not a fact. Read self help books.
Make an appointment with an experienced and qualified therapist. Try educating yourself about different types of brief therapy, such as cognitive or behavioral therapy, and learn about medication. The information on this and linked sites will help you make an informed decision.
The important thing to remember is that depression can be managed intelligently and the recovery rate is high. If you are, or you think you might be depressed, there are many ways a good therapist can help. It is a treatable condition, and you can feel better. Take action now!