Depression is a very big topic to discuss. The most commonly asked questions are: What is depression, and what disorders are related to depression? How common is depression? Is it serious? What treatment is used? And, What kind of symptoms should a person be looking for? Depression is more than the everyday ups and downs. You know when a person is depressed when their sad feelings interfere with their everyday life. Depression doesn't only affect feelings, but can change behavior, physical health and appearance, academic performance, social activities, and the ability to make decisions that are face every day. The causes of depression are still unknown, but researchers have found a genetic link between most depressive disorders. Another depressive disorder is bipolar depression.

Bipolar depression is when a person goes through mood cycles. The two common moods are being sad and down, but that can change to a very energetic mood quickly. Some things that can trigger a depressive episode are a serious loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crisis, financial setback, or any other unwelcome life change. Clinical depression is more common than most people think. More than nineteen million Americans are affected each year.

One-fourth of all women and one-eighth of all men will suffer a depressive episode during their lifetimes. There are more teenagers that suffer from depression than adults. Four percent of all teens are diagnosed as clinically depressed. People say that it is normal for teenagers to be moody. They say that teens don't suffer from real depression. People who don't think that teens could suffer from depression are wrong, depression can affect people of any age, race, ethnic or economic group.

One out of every twenty-five teens suffers from depression. Depression can be very serious. It has been noted that depression can be linked to poor school performance, alcohol and drug abuse, running away, and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Over the past twenty-five years, researchers have found that the rate of suicide among teenagers and young adults has increased dramatically. Suicide is often linked to depression. Some say that talking about depression only makes it worse.

The truth is that talking to someone about your feelings can help you realize that professional help is needed. By showing concern and support, you can encourage someone to talk to a trusted person. Depression is treatable. Between eighty and ninety percent of people with depression can be helped.

For the more serious cases of depression antidepressant medications and psychotherapies can be used. For the milder, less serious cases, psychotherapy may be enough by itself. Antidepressants are used for symptom relief and psychotherapy is used to learn more effective ways to deal with everyday problems through talking. In most cases psychotherapy is done in ten to twenty week sessions. Therapists focus on the patients' disturbed personal relationships.

In cases where the patients's symptoms don't progress with in the ten to twenty weeks, the sessions will continue until the symptoms significantly improve. Often people don't know they are depressed so they don't ask for or get help right away. People who are depressed often have a hard time recognizing their own symptoms, and don't seem to think that anything is wrong. To help someone who you might think is depressed is to first recognize the symptoms.

Some common symptoms are expressed feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness, if a person seems unable to make decisions, unable to concentrate, or if they have talked about suicide or death. If someone you know shows symptoms of depression, you can listen to them and encourage them to seek professional help. If they don't seek help, than you should talk to someone about them, even if you promised them you wouldn't say anything, especially if they mentioned death or suicide. People say that telling someone that a friend of yours is depressed is betraying a trust; if they want help they will get it. Depression interferes with a person's ability to make his or her own decisions or to get help when it is needed. If your friend is unwilling to get help, and you do for them, don't worry about it.

It is what a real friend would do. Reference: 1) Donald J. Franklin PhD "Psychology Information Online" 2003 web) Dan Johnston PhD "Awakenings" 2002 web) "National Institution for Mental Health" 1997 web) "Depression Information" 2003 web.