Definition

A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest; can affect how individuals feel, think, and behave; and can lead to emotional and physical problems.

Types

Causes

  • Biochemistry (differences in brain chemicals)
  • Personality
  • Environment

Statistics

  • Affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults each year
  • 1 in 6 people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life
  • Nearly 50% of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3

Risk Factors

Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Prevention

It is possible to prevent a depressive episode, including lifestyle changes and management techniques (including avoiding triggers).

  • Decrease social media exposure
  • Eat a healthy diet (lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Have a strong support system
  • Know medication side effects
  • Maintain treatment plan
  • Manage chronic conditions
  • Minimize daily decisions/choices
  • Plan for unavoidable triggers
  • Quit tobacco
  • Reduce alcohol & drug use
  • Reduce stress
  • Sleep

Vaccinations

People with a chronic disease are at higher risk for serious problems from certain diseases. Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.

The CDC recommends all adults receive:

  • Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
  • Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

Talk to your doctor about which other vaccines are right for you.

COVID-19 and Depression

The CDC states that people with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Preparedness page.

Resources

Support Groups