Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 1, 2014
Depression is a serious, debilitating illness that’s also one of the most commonly-diagnosed mental disorders. When you’re first diagnosed, you may feel both relief (finally, a name for your pain) and overwhelmed (what the heck do you do next?).
Depression is now considered common, affecting about 340 million people worldwide. Although treatable, about half of all cases of depression go undiagnosed and unaddressed. Situational sadness is a typical and normal reaction to events, such as a recent loss, and is simply part of the human experience. Rather than suppress situational sadness, it is best to work through these periods with help from friends, psychotherapists or counselors. A more serious medical diagnosis is clinical depression – it can also be triggered by a recent loss or other sad event, but then grows out of proportion to the situation and persists longer than is appropriate, affecting emotional health. Clinical depression often requires other forms of treatment in addition to counseling and therapy.
Latinas are one group most likely to suffer from clinical depression.
Depression can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, but when it comes to rates of depression, women fare worse than men, and Latinas are at an even higher risk of clinical depression when compared to non-Hispanic white women.
Much of the gender disparity can be attributed to how differently men and women respond to stress in their lives.
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Xiomara A. Sosa is Founder and Principal of XAS Consulting, LLC (XAS), an integrative mental healthcare and holistic wellness private practice consulting firm.