Diagnosis and treatment
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression, being the leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
Anyone can suffer from depression, although there are certain factors that increase the risk, such as having a family history of depression or going though adverse life events (unemployment, psychological trauma, bereavement…).
Symptoms that may appear in depression include persistent sadness (or irritability in children and adolescents), loss of energy, sleep disturbances (insomnia or hypersomnia), diminished interest or pleasure in activities that used to be pleasant, decreased ability to concentrate, difficulty making decisions, excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt or worthlessness, appetite changes, psychomotor agitation or retardation, suicidal ideation or even a loss of contact with reality in severe cases (which is known as depression with psychotic symptoms).
All of this cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
Furthermore, depression and physical health are interrelated: Physical health issues may trigger depression, and vice versa.
Worst case scenario, depression may lead to suicide. Around 800.000 people commit suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people among 15 to 29 years old.
Fortunately, depression can be prevented and treated. If you think you or a significant other might be depressed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.