Although people use the words depressed or depression to refer to a sad mood, it is much more than just a bad day. Depression is a complicated condition with many aspects.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 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. Misunderstandings about depression can hinder proper identification and treatment. Additionally, the signs and effects of depression can differ from person to person. The Deployment Health Clinical Center outlines six key aspects of depression:
- Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. Symptoms of depression and depressive disorders are often underdiagnosed because many people never seek treatment.
- Depression is more than a mood. Although a depressed mood is one indicator of the condition, others include loss of interest or pleasure in regular activities, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration.
- Depression is a major cause of disability. In fact, it’s the leading cause of disability in the United States for individuals 15-44 years of age.
- People with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk for depression.
- Depression impacts all services, ranks and ages. Service members returning from combat deployments have an increased risk of developing depression.
- Depression is treatable, even severe depression.
While these aspects are universal, depression may manifest in different ways for different people. How depression shows up can vary depending on several of factors, including gender.
The following infographic outlines symptoms of depression and risk factors specific to women.
This infographic was created using information from the National Institutes of Health “How Sex / Gender Influence Health & Disease” and the Mayo Clinic “Depression in Women: Understanding the Gender Gap.”