Depression can affect anyone, no matter what their age, lifestyle, family history or gender. The causes of depression are wide ranging and can be triggered by a number of factors or events in a person's life. Sometimes depression does not have a cause or trigger. While depression can affect anyone, the effect on some people or demographics may vary. Research in to the demographics of depression sufferers has shown that:
- Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men;
- Women may be at higher risk of suffering depression partly due to hormonal changes brought on by puberty, menstruation, menopause, and pregnancy (Depression.com, 2009)
- Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety or phobias than men and when the anxiety is present alongside depression, treatment can be a great deal more complicated (Overcome Depression, 2009)
Depression is a real mental illness, not a sign of weakness. Some of the world's most famous and powerful leaders have suffered from depression, including Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi.
- Although women are more likely to suffer from depression, men are more likely to commit suicide - this may be because men are more reluctant to seek help for depression (NHS, 2009);
- Men are more likely to use alcohol or substance abuse to cover their condition and many will go undiagnosed.
- Depression can affect people of any age, including children;
- Studies have shown that 2% of teenagers in the UK are affected by depression (NHS, 2009);
- Approximately 1 in 10 children under the age of fifteen has a mental health disorder such as depression. The difference between girls and boys is smaller than the difference between adult men and women (Overcome Depression, 2009);
- The rate of mental health conditions tends to increase in adolescence.
- Older people may lose loved ones and have to adjust to living alone. They may become physically ill and unable to be as active as they once were. These changes can all contribute to depression (Depression.com, 2009);
- Many older people are not diagnosed with depression and do not seek help for their condition;
- Approximately 1 in 5 elderly living within the community suffer from depression, while 2 in 5 living in care homes will struggle with this disorder (Overcome Depression, 2009)
- People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience depression themselves (NHS, 2009)
- Overcome Depression (2009) estimates that 420,000 Britons are challenged with work related stress that is making them ill with conditions such as depression and anxiety.
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