Depression

Depression is a condition in which a person feels sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general. Most people feel anxious or depressed at times, but when these feelings last for more than two weeks or interfere with daily activities such as taking care of family or going to work or school, it is considered a major depressive episode.

About 12 percent of women experience depression compared to 6 percent of men, making women twice as likely to be affected. At any point in time, 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depression. The lifetime risk is about 17 percent.

Signs & Symptoms

People with depression often report:

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities they used to enjoy
  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Sleep disturbance (sleeping more or sleeping less)
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts or recurrent thoughts of death

Women suffering from depression often turn to alcohol abuse years after the onset of depression. Men are more likely to internalize or ignore their emotions, and can start unhealthy practices to cope with these feelings. These unhealthy coping methods can lead to mental health disorders and even suicide.

Tips & Recommendations

The good news is that even the most severe cases of depression can be treated. The earlier treatment begins the more effective it is. Treatment typically involves medications, therapy or a combination of the two. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTS) can help you manage your feelings and cope with your depression.

Additional Resources

Help Guide: Depression in Women

WebMD: Depression in Women: Web MD

Help Guide: Depression in Men: Why it’s Hard to Recognize and What Helps

Men Get Depression: Symptoms

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Featured Therapist

Felicia Matto-Shepard, M.S.
Felicia Matto-Shepard, M.S.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Petaluma, CA

In private practice since 1994, I have worked successfully with a variety of clients across the age span as they searched to make changes in their lives, ease suffering, improve relationships and expand self knowledge. I pull from a variety of theories, depending on the presenting issues and the desired goals of treatment.

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