Steven Adams, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist
Cornerstone Counseling & Consulting, P.C.
Springfield and St. Louis, MO
(417) 888-3012

Depression is a Common Form of Mental Illness

Depression, a type of mood disorder, is among the most common forms of mental illness. About nine percent of the adult population in the United States has major depressive disorder in any given year (Kessler et al., 2012). About 18 percent of the population is likely to experience severe depression at some time in their lives. Women are two to three times more likely than men to experience depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (2017) women who are depressed are more likely to have feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and excessive guilt, while men are more likely to be fatigued and irritable, with diminished interests and problems sleeping. Men may abuse drugs or alcohol when they are depressed. Regarding suicide more women than men attempt suicide, but men are more likely to end their own lives.

Symptoms assessed by mental health professionals to make a diagnosis of major depressive disorder include (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition):

  • Depressive mood for most the day
  • Decreased interest in enjoyment or interest in most activities
  • Weight or appetite change
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Agitation or slowed activity level
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Preoccupation with death or suicide
  • Significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning

What Are Some Medical Problems Encountered by People with Depression?

Some medical problems are associated with depression. About 50 percent of individuals with strokes will experience clinical depression (Udesky, L., 2014). Other medical problems associated with depression include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attacks
  • Diabetes

Causes of Depression

Possible causes of depression include:

  • Traumatic events
  • Stress
  • Loss
  • Unmet childhood needs
  • Limited rewards (especially social rewards)
  • Negative thinking
  • Learned helplessness
  • Lack of social support
  • Medical diseases
  • Medication
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry and networks of brain structures (Comer R., 2015)
  • People in unsatisfying marriages are three times more likely to experience clinical depression than those in satisfying marriages (Whisman & Schonbrun, 2010).

What Treatment Options are Available for People with Depression?

Treatment for depression typically includes psychotherapy and/or anti-depressant medication.

  • In psychotherapy individuals work through such experiences as trauma and losses in order to cope more effectively with stressors associated with depression.
  • Other treatments involve increasing rewarding behavior and improving social skills.
  • Cognitive psychotherapy involves helping individual to identify and change thought processes that lead to feeling depressed.
  • Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy combines the use of cognitive and behavior therapy techniques.
  • Medication treatment using antidepressant medications have been shown to offer relatively quick reduction in depressive symptoms.
  • A combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medication is often more effective than just using one of these treatments.

Other Types of Mood Disorders

Other types of mood disorders include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Post-partum depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)

Contact Cornerstone Counseling at (417) 888-3012 for More Information

If you need any more information on depression or any other psychiatric disorder please give us a call. We are here to help.


American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (5th ed.). Washington D.C.: Author

Comer, R. J., (2015). Abnormal psychology. New York: Worth Publishing

Depression what you need to know 2017

Kessler, R.C., Petukhova, M., Sampson, N.A., Zaslavsky, A.M., & Wittchen, H. (2012). Twelve-month and lifetime prevalence and lifetime morbid risk of anxiety and mood disorders in the United States. International Journal of Methods of Psychiatric Research, 21 (3), 169-184.

Udesky, L. (2014). Stroke and depression. Health Day

Whisman, M.A. & Schonbrun, Y.C. (2010). Marital distress and relapse prevention for depression. In C.S. Richards & J.G. Perri (Eds.) Relapse prevention for depression (pp.251-269). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

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