Essay on Depression

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“Mom is sad all the time. She cries a lot. Sometimes she doesn’t get up in the morning. She stays in bed until late in the afternoon with covers pulled up around her ears. At first I didn’t worry. She’d stay in bed for a day or two and then get up again, and I’d think she was better. But after a couple of weeks, she didn’t eat much any more, and she stayed in her room most of the time”…… “She has something called depression” (DenBoer, Helen 1-2).

Most people today do not think that depression is an illness. In fact most people think that depression is a moral failure. “Some 400,000 patients are treated for depression in the United States annually, most as outpatients and most by non-psychiatric physicians” (Hollister, Leo E 80).
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It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years (National Institute of Mental Health). According to the same report nearly 18.8 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from major depression. Suicide, closely linked to depression, is the third leading cause of death in 10- to 24-year-olds. Unfortunately, most people never seek treatment. “Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, lasting for years and causing untold suffering, and possibly even result in suicide” (National Institute of Mental Health).

Depression is far more common than most people realize. “Two out of every 10 people are clinically depressed. Approximately 23 percent of all adult women have had one major depressive episode in their lifetime. Depression has touched the lives of some of the most successful and brilliant men and women of our time. Sylvia Plath, Dick Cavett, Georgia O'Keeffe, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, and Abraham Lincoln all wrestled with depression” ((Myrna A. Wallis 1). Douglas Jacobs, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who has devised national screening programs for depression, says that the key difference between having sad feelings and a true major depression is that sad feelings eventually pass.

Depression comes in many forms. Some of the

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