How common is depression?

How common is depression?

Many people will have depression at some point in their lives. Chances of becoming depressed are higher for certain people. For example:

  • Women have depression twice as often as men. But men are more likely to commit suicide because of depression.2
  • Separated or divorced people, especially men, are more likely than married people to become depressed.
  • People who have a serious illness are more likely to have depression.

If you have had depression before, there is a good chance that it will happen again. Taking your medicines even after you feel better can help keep you from getting depressed again. Some people need to take medicine for the rest of their lives.

What can you do if a loved one has depression?

Depression can lead to suicide. Learn the warning signs of suicide, and if you see them in a loved one, get help.

Watch your loved ones for these warning signs of suicide:

  • Planning to, or saying they want to, kill themselves or someone else.
  • Having a way to commit suicide, such as having a gun.
  • Being out of touch with reality, having severe anxiety, or thinking they hear voices giving them commands.
  • Using alcohol or drugs, especially in large amounts.
  • Talking, writing, or drawing about death. This includes writing suicide notes and talking about items that can cause physical harm, such as pills, guns, or knives.
  • Spending long periods of time alone.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Acting mean and aggressive, or suddenly acting calm.

If a suicide threat seems real, with a specific plan and a way to carry it out, the following guidelines may help:

  • Call 911 , a suicide hotline, or the police.
  • Stay with the person, or ask someone you trust to stay with the person, until the crisis has passed.
  • Encourage the person to seek professional help.
  • Don't argue with the person ("It's not as bad as you think") or challenge him or her ("You're not the type to commit suicide").
  • Tell the person you don't want him or her to die. Talk about the situation as openly as possible.


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