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Understanding Depression

June 03, 2024

Life can be full of challenges. School and work stress, relationship issues, and health concerns can all take a toll. While it’s normal to have moments of sadness, grief, and anger, if these feelings persist for more than two weeks, it could be a sign of depression.

Depression is a common mental health condition that impacts more than 16 million American adults every year. And nearly 30% of U.S. adults age 18 and older report having been diagnosed with depression sometime in their lifetime, according to a new report by Gallup.

What Is Depression? 

Depression is a mood disorder that impacts how you think and feel. The symptoms of depression can make it difficult to eat, work, or sleep.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are several types of depressive disorders, including seasonal affective disorder, postpartum depression, and clinical depression. Clinical depression, which is often just called “depression,” is the most severe type. Your doctor and mental health professional can help determine what kind of depression you have and how best to treat it.

What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?

Experts at the Mayo Clinic say that when someone is experiencing depression, the symptoms are persistent or constant. This means they occur most of the day, nearly every day, and might include:
  • Feeling sad, tearful, or hopeless.
  • Being easily irritated or frustrated.
  • Eating too much or too little, causing weight gain or loss.
  • Having low energy or fatigue.
  • Having trouble thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
  • Losing interest in activities that used to bring joy.
  • Not sleeping or sleeping too much. 
  • Pulling away from family and friends.
  • Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

When Should You Seek Help For Depression?

It can be hard to know when negative feelings are simply a natural reaction to a bad situation — or if you need to connect with mental health support. Generally, if your thoughts or emotional reactions are getting in the way of your work and relationships, or you’ve been feeling down for two weeks or more, it’s time to reach out for help.
To find a doctor or mental health professional, use the Find Care tool on the Sydney℠ Health app or at You can also call the Member Services number on your health plan ID card. 
If you are in crisis or have suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. Call 988 to reach the 24/7 confidential 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or go to If your issue is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression is one of the most treatable mental health conditions. Talking with your primary care doctor is a great first step. They may prescribe medication, suggest lifestyle changes, or recommend you connect with a therapist.
Lifestyle changes that can help improve symptoms of depression include eating a healthy diet, being physically active, going outdoors when possible, getting the right amount of sleep, and spending less time on social media and more time with those we love.
Understanding the condition and talking with others about it is vital. All this helps break the stigma of mental health.
The BlueCross BlueShield Association National Health Index ranks depression as one of the top conditions that lower the quality of life for people all over the United States. That’s why it’s essential to get help. Treatment by a healthcare professional can help you get back to what you love. 

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National Institute of Mental Health: Depression (March 2024):

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