“Mom is sad all the time. She cries a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t get up in the morning. She stays in bed until late in the afternoon with covers pulled up around her ears. At first I didn’t worry. She’d stay in bed for a day or two and then get up again, and I’d think she was better. But after a couple of weeks, she didn’t eat much any more, and she stayed in her room most of the time”…… “She has something called depression” (DenBoer, Helen 1-2).
Most people today do not think that depression is an illness. In fact most people think that depression is a moral failure. “Some 400,000 patients are treated for depression in the United States annually, most as outpatients and most by non-psychiatric physicians” (Hollister, Leo E 80). In 1989, major depression cost the nation at least $27 billion in medical care, worker absenteeism, and related costs. In 2002, “as many as 14 million people in the United States had symptoms of depression, resulting in a prevalence rate of 3% to 7% of the general population. This led to a loss of approximately $40 billion dollars a year in productivity (Breen, Robert and McCormac, Rupert 1).
Everyone at one time or another has felt depressed, sad, or blue. Being depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But sometimes the feeling of sadness becomes intense, lasting for long periods of time and preventing a person from leading a normal life. In fact depression is often considered a "female disease," since affected women reportedly outnumber men by four to one. Yet male depression may be more. “Many men try to hide their condition, thinking it unmanly to act moody. And it works: National studies suggest that doctors miss the diagnosis in men a full 70% of the time” (Real, Terrance 1). But male depression also stays hidden because men tend to express depression differently than women do. Depressed women are more likely to talk abut their problems and reach out for help, while depressed men will often turn to some action or substance for relief. Men often attempt to escape pain by overusing alcohol or drugs, working excessively or seeking extramarital affairs. They go into isolation, withdrawing from loved ones, and they may lash out, becoming irritable or violent (Real, Terrance 1).
The American National Institute of National health has defined depression as an illness that involves the body. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years (National Institute of Mental Health). According to the same report nearly 18.8 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from major depression. Suicide, closely linked to depression, is the third leading cause of death in...