Depression and Suicide Information and Resources
What is depression?
Depression is a life-long condition which is characterized by severe feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despondency.
The chemistry behind depression:
Depression is theorized to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. In the brain, there are chemicals called neurotransmitters, which control many different aspects of our daily lives. The three that are thought to be greatly affected by depression are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Serotonin deals with mood, appetite, sleep, and memory. Dopamine controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. Norepinephrine is secreted in response to stress.
Many believe that the regulation of these neurotransmitters will help greatly with depression.
Who can be affected by depression?
Depression affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, social status, wealth, ethnicity, etc.
Who is most at risk for depression?
- Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression
- Major depression is most likely to affect those between 40 to 60 years old
- Depression is likely to affect those in poor living or financial situations
- Those with a family history of depression are more at risk than those without
- Those who are in bad relationships
- People who are in stressful situations
How many people have depression?
It is reported that 1 out of every 10 people has depression.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that depression affects approximately 20 million people, which is about 10% of the population.
As many as one in thirty three children are diagnosed with depression, as well as one in eight adolescents.
3.3% of teens have depression.
Worldwide, 350 million people are affected by depression.
What kinds of depression are there?
- Major Depressive Disorder: this is a depression with symptoms that interfere with day to day life and have periods of time where the symptoms get better or worse.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: this is a depression that has lasted for two or more years, and has the same symptoms and patterns as Major Depressive Disorder.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): this is a depression characterized by experiences of depression in the winter months of the year.
- Bipolar Disorder: this is a disorder which has periods of extreme depressions, followed by extreme highs or “manic” periods.
What are the causes of depression?
- Major illnesses such as cancer or degenerative diseases
- Current situations such as divorce, death of a family member, financial problems, etc
- Low self esteem
- Medications sometimes cause depression as a side effect
What are the signs of depression?
- Loss of energy
- Loss of motivation
- Intense feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, or sadness
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of pleasure and interest in most activities
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Thoughts of suicide
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Frequent pains and headaches
- Empty or anxious feelings
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Increased or uncontrollable irritable or aggressive behavior
- Substance abuse
- Reckless behavior
- Withdrawal from friends or family
Depression does not affect everyone in the same way, and symptoms will differ from person to person.
- Therapy or Counseling: there are many different places that therapy or counseling are offered. Some high schools or colleges offer these services free of charge. Often, there are counseling services offered locally through a facility which specializes in therapy or other psychological needs. This is the most recommended treatment option.
- Medication: going to a psychiatrist and being prescribed medication to mitigate the effects of depression. Typically, psychiatrists recommend therapy while taking medication.
- Make Lifestyle Changes: exercise more, eat healthier, regulate sleep, and try to reduce exposure to unnecessary stressors.
Only 1 out of every 3 people with depression seek treatment.
Up to 80% of people who underwent treatment showed some improvement in 4-6 weeks.
Where to go:
- Support groups
- Friends or family
- Mental health professionals
- Hospitals or inpatient treatment centers
- Outpatient treatment centers
- Guidance counselors
How many people are affected by suicide?
Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year.
1 in approximately 65,000 of children between ages 9-14 will commit suicide
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America
On average, someone commits suicide every 13 minutes
15% of those who are depressed die from suicide
Signs of suicide
- Talking about suicide or wanting to die
- Extreme mood swings
- Increased aggression
- Talking about being a burden or about having no reason to live
- Purchase of weapons or other items that could be used for suicide
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Seeking revenge
- Sudden calm or peaceful feelings
- Giving away possessions
- Tying up loose ends, getting affairs in order
- Making amends with people or saying goodbyes
- Loss of interest in activities
- Big change in appearance or behavior
Those who are exhibiting these symptoms need to be taken to see a mental health professional as soon as possible.
- Suicide hotlines
- Inpatient facilities
- Suicide helpchats
There are always options other than suicide. Never be afraid to call a hotline or talk to friends or family. Things will get better. Whatever situation you may be in is only temporary, no matter how it seems.