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Depression isn’t just feeling down every once in a while—it’s a serious mood disorder that can lead to a variety of physical and emotional problems if not properly treated.
According to a 2012 survey from the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 7 percent of U.S. adults had experienced a major depressive episode within the last year. The Canadian Community Health Survey showed just slightly fewer Canadian adults were depressed, with 5.4 percent reporting symptoms of major depression that same year. Overall, more women than men are susceptible to depression in their lifetimes.
Depression can be caused by brain chemistry, hormones and can even be passed down in one’s DNA. But, depression can also be triggered by a traumatic life event, such as domestic violence. Living through abuse can lead to not only depression, but also post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
It’s important to pay attention to what you’re feeling and talk to someone who can help you sort through your emotions. Most individuals with depression are helped by medication, counseling or both. Left untreated, depression can lead to such complications as excess weight gain, panic disorder, social isolation, suicidal feelings, self-mutilation (such as cutting), or alcohol or substance abuse.
Below, a list of symptoms from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America that can indicate you may be experiencing a major depressive episode. Keep in mind these feelings can happen as the abuse is going on, as soon as you leave your abuser or long after you’ve started a new life.
Symptoms of Depression:
- Persistent sad or anxious moods
- Restlessness and irritability
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies you once enjoyed
- Difficulty with concentration or memory
- Problems making decisions
- Lack of energy or inability to get out of bed
- Loss of appetite and weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of suicide or death, or suicide attempts
- Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches or other digestive issues, which don’t respond to traditional treatments
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