Experts consider the 20th century as one the most depressed periods in history, yet the 21st century is set to by far exceed that bar. Depression is now considered a health epidemic, and no wonder, we live in a disordered world where stress and anxiety have become the daily norm. It is estimated that about 40% of the population will regularly turn to some sort of antidepressant just to get through the humdrum of daily life.

Women are three times more likely to suffer from depression than men due to their varying hormonal cycles, and are vulnerable premenstrually, after delivery, and during the peri-menopausal years. Men become depressed over specific issues like failure in business or loss of a job. The elderly, men and women who live alone and dependent on others are also vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

Adolescent both boys and girls, about 2-3% are vulnerable to depression. The transitory period before adulthood is a bewildering time of experimentation leaving them to deal with unsettled and out of control feelings.

Care givers under constant stress to be present and accounted for, also suffer from depression. Stephen Hinshaw a Californian psychiatrist says, "Many care givers, get to a point when there is an imbalance between their own feelings of being human and the difficult confrontational issues of care giving on a day to day basis.Ó

Depression, feelings of sadness are normal during times of loss be it a job, a death, a divorce or unfulfilled dreams. Depression may manifest itself as lack of energy, withdrawal, unexplained sadness, feelings of worthlessness, irritability, weight loss or gain- the list is endless. It aggravates the symptoms of arthritis, angina, diabetes, asthma or other medical problems.

If you find yourself depressed and not bouncing back here are some ways to take charge.

¥ Tackle the cause of your depression and resolve to remedy it. This may involve a change in life style, attitudes toward events or situations or people. Keep your focus on living positively, and converting anxiety into positive thoughts and energy.

¥ Express your feelings of fear, anger or sadness by talking to a counselor or a psychotherapist. Putting your feelings into words makes sadness and anger less intense- in other words it takes away its power over you. Psychotherapy helps a person identify the cause of the depression and brings new coping skills.

 Other important tools to end depression include regular exercise, ending multitasking, spending time with the family and doing what is enjoyable, avoidance of comfort eating, regular hours of sleep, a good multi-vitamin/mineral, massage and time away.

If you find yourself depressed about the weather, well thatÕs normal. If you find yourself in a blue funk that just wonÕt quit, itÕs time to seek professional help. Till next time, Rebecca.