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Understand Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health challenges in the United States. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 8 percent of young adults between the ages of 18-22 reported feelings of depression in the past year. Depression is characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness or emptiness, often lasting for more than two weeks. Other symptoms of depression include:

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • decreased energy or fatigue
  • feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • trouble sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • appetite and/or weight changes
  • thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems without a clear physical cause

Causes and Risk Factors

There is no single cause for depression. Brain chemistry, genetics and personal risk factors may all play a role. Additional risk factors for depression include:

  • low self-esteem
  • anxiety
  • physical or sexual abuse
  • chronic diseases like diabetes or cancer
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • family history of depression.

If you feel that you may depressed, help and treatment are available. Call the Mental Health Call Center to help get connected with a mental health professional in Santa Clara County: 1-800-704-0900.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health, www.nimh.nih.gov