Depression is a common and serious mental health condition that causes prolonged feelings of hopelessness, sadness, emotional despair and lethargy. It could also lead to suicidal thoughts, self-harm and substance abuse.

Depression can be triggered by several factors, including genetic predisposition to a mental illness, a medical condition or sudden life changes such as the death of a loved one, job loss or financial stress.

An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode in the last year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Approximately 35 percent of these individuals did not seek treatment.

If left untreated, depression can disrupt your ability to function at home, work or school. People with depression often have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships with loved ones, fulfilling childcare or work commitments or lack the energy to complete daily tasks such as brushing their teeth or showering.

Signs of Depression

During National Depression Awareness Month this October, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center psychiatrist Sumeet Singh, MD, shares the following warning signs of the depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or hopeless mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Isolation from friends and family members
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a serious, yet treatable, mental health condition. “It’s important to remember that depression is not a passing phase and the condition will not resolve itself on its own,” says Dr. Singh. “Depression is a mood disorder that requires treatment with psychotherapy, medication or a combination of both.”

Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Services offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatment programs based on the level of need.

If you are struggling with feelings of prolonged anxiety, hopelessness and sadness, take our free online screening tool to see if you are at risk for depression.