Depression is a common mood disorder that can interfere with the normal functioning of people’s daily lives. Most individuals experience mood swings at one point or another over the course of a lifetime. This includes feelings of extreme happiness, maybe even euphoria; however, there are times when a person feels sad, upset, or even very angry. These feelings are a part of peoples’ lives as he or she goes through the many changes in life, which often require adjustments and can cause stress. Many individuals have no problems dealing with these mood swings and can function perfectly. Still, there are others who have much more trouble and these feelings interfere with his or her ability to function effectively. In extreme cases, this condition may even become life threatening and the person is unable to distinguish between what is real or unreal.
Knowing that depression is not a very unusual disorder makes the facts that support this statement all the more interesting. According to Murray & Fortinberry (2005), “Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.” These are truly impressive numbers representing the seriousness of this disorder. Still, what is even more interesting is the fact that many see depression as a personal defect or a quality of being weak. In return, this makes it much more difficult for him or her actually admitting they have a problem and even more importantly, he or she is embarrassed to seek professional help. As stated by Murray & Fortinberry (2005), “54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.”
Therefore, it is very important to acknowledge the difference between mood swings and serious depression and there are many different factors distinguishing the two. So when a psychologist is speaking about major depression or concludes a client’s diagnoses, he or she is not just talking about a person’s sadness due to a...