This topic covers depression in adults. For information on depression in young people, see the topic Depression in Childhood and Adolescence. For information on depression following childbirth, see the topic Postpartum Depression.
What is depression?什么是抑郁症？
Depression is a mood disorder that causes you to feel sad or hopeless for an extended period of time. More than just a bout of the blues or temporary feelings of grief or low energy, depression can have a significant impact on your enjoyment of life, your work, your health, and the people you care about.
Depression affects people differently. Some feel down for extended periods of time; for others the feelings of depression come and go. If you have short episodes of mild depression, you may be able to continue to work and take care of daily activities. However, if you do not seek some form of treatment for your depression, you are at risk for getting more depressed or becoming physically ill. In severe cases, depression can cause people to become incapable of communicating, unable to do routine activities, or suicidal. In these cases, it is essential to seek medical attention.
People with depression may be reluctant to seek help because they feel that it is a sign of personal weakness or a character flaw or that they should be able to pull out of it on their own. We now know that depression, like other medical conditions, has a chemical and biological basis. Treatment for depression is safe and usually effective even for severely depressed people.
If you think you may have depression, take a short quiz to evaluate your symptoms:
Are you depressed?你抑郁吗？
What causes depression?什么会引起抑郁？
Depression may be triggered by stressful life events, other illnesses, certain drugs or medications, or inherited traits. Although causes of depression are not entirely understood, we know it is linked to an imbalance in brain chemistry. Once the imbalance is corrected, symptoms of depression generally improve.
What are the symptoms?抑郁有哪些症状？
Depression is more than just the normal, temporary feelings of sadness and hopelessness associated with difficult life events. Common symptoms include:
- Depressed mood.
- Inability to enjoy activities.
- Problems concentrating.
- Poor memory.
- Difficulty making decisions.
- Changes in eating habits.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Changes in sleeping habits.
- Difficulty going to work or taking care of your daily responsibilities.
- Feelings of guilt and hopelessness; wondering if life is worth living (common).
- Slowed thoughts and speech.
- Preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide.
- Complaints that have no physical cause (somatic complaints) such as headache and stomachache.
All of these symptoms can interfere with your quality of life. Even if you don't have major depression, if you have experienced a few of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks you may have a less severe form of depression that still requires treatment.
How is it treated?如何治疗？
Depression is usually treated successfully with professional counseling or antidepressant medication. Often a combination of the two is most effective. People with depression usually can be treated as outpatients, but in severe cases a period of hospitalization may be necessary.
If you have mild or moderate depression, you may be diagnosed and treated by your family health professional and a therapist or psychologist. If you have severe depression or other psychological disorders or do not respond to treatment, a psychiatrist, a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems, may be helpful.
Let your health professional know if you suspect that you have depression, because it is often overlooked. If you are diagnosed with depression, you and your health professional can decide on the best treatment. The earlier you are treated, the more quickly you will recover.
How common is depression?抑郁普遍吗？
If you have symptoms of depression, you are not alone. In the United States, an estimated 15% of people will have depression at some point in life, and chances of becoming depressed are even higher for certain people. For example:
Women experience depression twice as often as men, although men are more likely to commit suicide as a result of depression.女性患抑郁的可能性是男性的两倍，虽然，男性在患抑郁之后比女性更易自杀。
Separated or divorced individuals, especially men, are more likely than married people to become depressed.
People who have a serious illness are more likely to suffer from depression.