Depression: Key Q&A

Q: How can I tell if I'm depressed or just sad?

A:Depression is different from occasionally feeling blue. If feelings of unhappiness are persistent and debilitating, interfering with your activities and relationships, you may be clinically depressed.

Q: What is the most common symptom of depression?

Although depression has many symptoms, perhaps the most common is altered mood. If you are suffering from depression, you may experience profound sadness, anxiety, anger, irritability or apathy (lack of emotion). You may also be pessimistic, discouraged, extremely sensitive or subject to crying spells.

Q: How common is depression among women?

A: Women are nearly twice as likely to develop depression as men. As many as one out of every five women will experience depression during her lifetime, with females between the ages of 18 and 45 accounting for the majority of all cases of depression.

Q:Whom can I contact to find out if I'm depressed?

A: Despite being a serious and common disorder, depression is underdiagnosed. This is largely because many people are embarrassed to seek help for the condition or they may fail to recognize that their symptoms are something treatable. If you suspect that you are depressed, contact your primary care doctor or a mental health professional who is qualified to diagnose depression.

Q: Will my children develop depression because I have the condition?

A: Depression can be hereditary. The risk of depression may be as high as 25 percent in children of patients with a history of the disorder. Other first-degree relatives (parents, brothers and sisters) of depressed individuals also have a greater risk of developing depression. However, just because you're depressed doesn't mean that your children will definitely develop depression.

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