May is Mental Health Awareness Month


Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting more than 16 million men and women (almost 7 percent of the adult population) and about 3 million adolescents.

It is a serious mental illness, feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest, anger, frustration, or other negative emotions like irritability (especially in adolescents) last for weeks or years and interfere with daily activities.

All people experience moments when they feel sad or blue, but these feelings usually pass within a couple of days and are not indicative of depression. Depression can cause deep emotional pain both to the person experiencing it and, often, to that person’s close family and friends.

Depression is a significant public-health issue. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people between ages 15 and 44 and is the number one cause of injury or illness for men and women around the world. People with depression are more likely to die from suicide.

What Is Depression?

There are several different types of medical depression.

The most common type of depression is called major depression, and it occurs when symptoms interfere with the enjoyment of life or with daily functions, these include work, sleep, and eating habits for two weeks or more.

Some people experience only one episode of major depression in their life, while others may go through numerous recurrent episodes of the illness.

People who have a condition known as persistent depressive disorder will experience a depressed mood continuously for at two years or more. A person with this condition may experience episodes of major depression as well as periods of less severe symptoms.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Less than half of those living with depression, in some countries, fewer than 10 percent receive the care they need.

A number of things prevent people from getting treatment, such as lack of training in the healthcare field, social stigma, and misdiagnosis.

What Causes Depression?

There are a number of factors that can trigger the onset of depression, including bereavement, illness (such as cancer or chronic pain), social isolation or loneliness, and stressful life events. Depression can also occur without any obvious cause.

A person who experiences anxiety is at high risk for developing depression, and vice versa. Nearly half those who are diagnosed with anxiety are also diagnosed with depression.

Scientists don’t know exactly why some people develop depression and others avoid it. Several factors most likely contribute to the development of depression, including:

  • Genetics (mood disorders and suicide run in families)
  • Trauma or abuse at an early age, which can cause long-term changes in how the brain deals with fear and stress
  • Brain structure and chemistry (imaging studies have shown that the frontal lobe becomes less active when a person is depressed)
  • Substance abuse (approximately 30 percent of people who abuse drugs or alcohol also have depression, requiring a coordinated treatment approach)
  • Other medical conditions (people with sleep disturbances, cancer, chronic pain, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder —ADHD — are more likely to develop depression)

One reason depression is difficult to identify is that its symptoms can vary depending on age and sex. Adults with depression generally feel overwhelmed by sadness, while depression in children and adolescents tends to express itself as anger and irritability. Women with depression are more likely to note symptoms like anxiety and indecisiveness, while men are more likely to report anger and aggression.

How is Depression Treated?

The majority of people with depression who actually seek treatment will find a cure. Success rates are about 80 or 90 percent. Finding the right approach can take trying different things, People who are looking for medication-free help can find it readily. Acupuncture, meditation, yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy are just a few that are designed to replace depressed thoughts with healthy ones.

At Port Orange Chiropractic, we care about your overall health.  If you have questions about how you may benefit from chiropractic adjustments, call our friendly staff at (386) 761-0520.  We look forward to hearing from you.