We offer Encouragement

Nearly 1 of 20 United States (U.S.) adults are affected by a mood disorder every year4. Once a person has had an occurrence of depression, subsequent episodes tend to occur. It is normal to feel sadness occasionally, but depression is a mood disorder that affects an individual’s life in many aspects. Depression is a widespread issue that ranks high among the causes of disability, and even suicide4.

Regardless of what you’re facing, just remember that God is with you. He will be there on good days and bad days because He cares. He shows compassion, He offers mercy, He brings hope. Not only is God available to give us strength, He has equipped others to be able to give appropriate professional help and support.

For individuals experiencing depression, getting connected through a support system, including health care providers can help one to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. Although individuals may feel ashamed or hesitant to seek help, reaching out is the first step to recovery.

Whether or not you are concerned about having depression, we invite you to explore the information and resources offered here to promote your emotional health and well-being. This content is not intended to replace care from health care providers. This material is for educational information only, in the interest of raising awareness regarding emotional health concerns and encouraging readers to seek medical help if needed.

Most of this content was developed Chile Egbudiwe, SN and reviewed by SWAU Nursing Professor, Lakicia Foster, DNP, MPH, RN-BC.

What is Depression?

There are four most common types of depressive disorders which are: 1) Major Depressive Disorder; 2) Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder; 3) Persistent Depressive Disorder; & 4) Premature Dysphoric Disorder3.

These disorders are characterized by an impairment in an individual’s ability to function3. This may last two weeks or more and be accompanied by at least 4 of the following clinical symptoms: depressed mood, difficulty/excessive sleeping, indecisiveness, decreased ability to concentrate, suicidal ideation, change in motor activity, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), and weight changes.

Causes of Depression

There are many theories regarding what causes depression3. Examples include:  Altered neurotransmitters, genetic predisposition, Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation (HPA), circadian rhythm disturbances, and changes in brain chemistry2.

Although depressive disorders can be experienced by people of all ages, background, and gender, there are factors that increase the likeliness of a person facing depression3. Some of these risk factors include family or personal history of depression, neurotransmitter deficiencies, stressful events, females between the age of 15 and 40, and adults over the age of 653.

  1. Some people become depressed when they find themselves in situations they can’t control and thus feel powerless4. Some situational examples include: Being a victim of a crime, a breakup of a relationship, death of a loved one, having a baby, and lack of exposure to bring lights in the winter months4.

Yet through all of this, there is hope and help. Please read content provided in the Inspiration and Connection sections.