Depression is a widespread mental illness that causes intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and personal emptiness. It can be brought on by stress, regret, trauma, loss, or even a genetic predisposition to developing the disease.  Basic functions (sleep, attention, appetite, energy) can be so impaired that daily life activities become painful to tolerate.  Like adults, children and teenagers can have depression.  About 5 percent of children and adolescents suffer from depression, but the behavior of depressed children and teenagers may differ from the behavior of depressed adults.  The child and teenager may complain of boredom, become very irritable, or complain of frequent headaches and stomachaches.  Depressed adolescents may abuse alcohol or other drugs to cope with their feelings.  Fortunately, depression can be successfully treated with a combination of treatments, including medication and therapy.

Did you know…

that depression is estimated to affect roughly 1 in 10 American adults? The Centers for Disease Control reports that this mental illness can be found in people of all ages and backgrounds, although it seems to be more prevalent within certain populations. Those at heightened risk of depression include:

  • People between the ages of 45 – 64
  • Females
  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • People without a high school diploma
  • Divorced or widowed people
  • Unemployed individuals
  • Uninsured people without health coverage

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