Depression is an illness. People with depression feel sad, down or miserable most of the time. They find it hard to function from day to day.
About 800,000 Australians experience depression each year. On average, one in four women and one in six men will have depression at some point in their lives. Among these are many celebrities - including Gary McDonald, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Rachel Griffiths - who have publicly shared their experience with depression in order to reduce stigma about the illness.
Symptoms and Causes
A person may have depression if, for more than two weeks, they:
- feel sad, down or miserable
- Lose interest in things that they would normally enjoy
Experience three or more symptoms across the following areas:
- Thoughts: worthlessness or guilt, suicidal ideas and/or thoughts of death, bleak or pessimistic view of the future
- Physical: appetite and weight changes, sleep changes or insomnia, fatigue or loss of energy
- Behaviours: moving and thiningly slowly or faster, unable to concentrate, memory problems, difficulty making decisions, restlessness or irritability.
These symptoms of depression can be challenging for both the sufferers and the people around them.
There are generally a number of interrelated factors associated with depression. These include heredity, biochemistry (reduced neurotransmitters), stress, personality traits, and the presence of other illnesses.