Depression affects approximately 121 million people worldwide. The total cost of depression for Americans has risen to over 40 billion dollars each year for direct and indirect costs. Direct costs, such as hospitalization, outpatient care, and drug treatment, account for $12.4 billion, while indirect costs incurred by lost productivity, absenteeism, and suicide-related losses in productivity comprise the remainder.
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. In the United States, close to 10 percent of adults struggle with depression. But because it’s a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand than say, high cholesterol.
One major source of confusion is the difference between having depression and just feeling depressed. Almost everyone feels down from time to time. Getting a bad grade, losing a job, having an argument, even a rainy day can bring on feelings of sadness. Sometimes there’s no trigger at all. It just pops up out of the blue. Then circumstances change and those sad feelings disappear.
Clinical depression is different. It’s a medical disorder and it won’t go away just because you want it to. It lingers for at least two consecutive weeks and significantly interferes with one’s ability to work, socialize, and enjoy life.
When a person is depressed, it interferes with his or her daily life and routine, such as going to work or school, taking care of children, and relationships with family and friends. The illness causes pain for the person who has it and for those who care about him or her. Loss of a loved one, divorce, bereavement, social isolation, stress, and hormonal changes, or traumatic events may trigger depression at any age.
Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder as men. It occurs most often between the ages of 25 and 44. At any given time, up to 9 percent of women and 4 percent of men may have the disorder.