Depression in Adults


Depression is more than feeling sad or “blue.”

Depression affects more than 19 million Americans every year (almost 10% of the adult population). Depression can take different forms in different people, but it always causes suffering and decreases the person’s quality of life.

What’s the difference between depression and sadness?

Depression lasts at least two weeks and may make you feel:

  • Hopeless, empty, or sad all of the time
  • Worthless or guilty
  • Restless or sluggish

If you have depression, you might:

  • Lose interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Sleep too much, or not enough
  • Lack energy
  • Gain or lose weight when you don’t want to
  • Have trouble concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Think about death or suicide

Risk factors

Anyone can suffer from depression. It can be triggered by devastating experiences, such as loss of a family member, loss of work, or homelessness. Relatives of people who have a history of depression or substance abuse have a higher risk of depression, as do people who use alcohol or drugs heavily.

Depression takes many forms, and it’s impossible to diagnose just by looking at a person. If you think someone is suffering from depression, recommend a discussion with a health care provider. The important thing to remember is that depression can be treated.

For more information about depression, ask your health specialist, or visit any of these informative web sites: