Depression is a serious medical illness affecting 16 million+ Americans every single year. That’s 6.7% of all U.S. adults. Depression is often a debilitating disorder. Depression results in a persistent state of sadness or loss of interest or pleasure which interferes with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, and physical health.
In 2010, the economic burden of depression was estimated at $210 billion in the US. Depression was the second leading cause of disability. It accounted for almost 20% of all years of life lost to disability and premature death.
We know that depression can be a very lethal disease. In fact, each year in the US, over 44,000 people die by suicide. 60% of whom suffer from depression. Women are almost twice as likely as men to suffer from depression although some experts feel that depression in men isn’t reported as much. About two-thirds of people who have an episode of depression will have at least one other episode within their life.
The exact cause of depression is not known and can be very complex. The leading scientific theory is that depression is caused by decreased activity in the neural networks of the brain that regulate emotion and motivation. Increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain has been found to reactivate these neural networks, or create new networks. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that send signals between brain cells. Antidepressant medications are often used to treat depression. It is believed that antidepressant medications work by increasing the amounts of neurotransmitters.
It is know that around 4+ million patients do not receive adequate benefit from antidepressants and/or cannot tolerate the side effects caused by them.
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