Depression by the Numbers

Everyone feels down in the dumps sometimes. But depression is much more than occasional feelings of sadness and loss. "Depression is a deeper, more persistent feeling of low mood and the inability to enjoy things one normally would," says Tina J. Walch, MD, medical director of Northwell Healthís South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, New York. "It feels bleak and as if you are in a dark pit you cannot climb out of." The bad news? Depression is common. The good news: Itís also treatable. Here's a look at this mood disorder by the numbers.

18 million: the number of American who suffer from some form of depression.

11: The number of signs and symptoms of depression listed by the National Institute of Mental Health. These include persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood; feelings of hopelessness and pessimism; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness; loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities; decreased energy, fatigue, and being "slowed down"; difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions; difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping;  appetite and/or weight changes; thoughts of death or suicide, and suicide attempts; restlessness, irritability; persistent physical symptoms.

2+: The number of weeks a major depressive episode (characterized by depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities) lasts. The episode must be accompanied by four additional symptoms such as changes in sleep, decreased energy, and feelings of worthlessness.

15.7 million: The number of adults aged 18 or older in the United States who suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2014.

2.8 million: The number of U.S. children aged 12 to 17 who have had at least one major depressive episode.

15: The age at which girls are twice as likely as boys to have a major depressive episode.

6 million: The number of men in America who suffer from depression each year.

2: The number of times that women are more likely than men to suffer from major depression and dysthymia, a less severe form of the condition.

30 to 50: Percentage of the time that depression in women is misdiagnosed.

70: Percentage of the prescriptions written for antidepressants that are given to women (often with the improper diagnosis and monitoring).

3: The number of times that women are more likely than men to be depressed in an unhappy marriage.

32: Average age at onset of a major depressive disorder.

4: The types of therapeutic inventions for depression: medication (called antidepressants), psychotherapy (a/k/talk therapy; there are several types), brain stimulation techniques (such as electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation), and vagus nerve stimulation techniques, Walch says. In addition, she explains, alternative therapies (such as yoga and exercise) are often used in conjunction with the treatments above.

4: Percentage of people on antidepressants who thought about or attempted suicide, compared to the two percent who received placebos.

2005: The year that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted a "black box" warning label on all antidepressant medications to alert the public about the potential increased risk of suicidal thinking or attempts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants.

4-6: Number of weeks that it should take for treatment for depression to work. If it hasn't worked by then, seek different treatment.

Tina J. Walch, MD reviewed this article.

Sources

Walch, Tina, MD. Northwell Health. Email interview.

"Major Depression Among Adults." The National Institute of Mental Health. Page accessed February 17, 2016.

"Depression." The National Institute of Mental Health. Page accessed February 9, 2016.

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"Signs and Symptoms of Depression." The National Institute of Mental Health. Page accessed February 9, 2016.

"Men and Depression." The National Institute of Mental Health. Page accessed February 9, 2016.

"Depression in Women." The National Institute of Mental Health. Page accessed February 9, 2016.

"Women and Depression." American Psychological Association. Page accessed February 9, 2016.

"Mental Health by the Numbers." National Alliance on Mental Health. Page accessed February 9, 2016.