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DepressionLife is full of twists and turns – and sometimes it can hurt more than we’d like it to.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 121 million people across the globe suffer from depression. And the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 7 percent of adults in the United States struggle with the disorder, which is also the leading cause of disability.

It’s important that sufferers of depression understand they’re not alone – and more importantly, that they’re not weird. Depression is difficult, but very common.

There are several factors that can cause depression, including genetics and other social indicators. But major life events can trigger the disease as well.

Major Stressors to Contribute to Depression:

Stress at Work. You are not your job, but you sure do spend a lot of time there. Most working adults give an average of 40 hours, give or take a few, to their jobs each week. And if you don’t get along with your coworkers or if you’re under a lot of pressure or strict deadlines at work, it can be an awful place to be. Stress at work can easily lead a person to feel trapped, often triggering, or even generating feelings of depression.

Unemployment. Working in a difficult environment can be hard, but not working at all is often even harder for those that truly want to find a job. Many adults find a sense of meaning in their work. If a person finds themselves without a job but wanting one, it can be difficult for their self-esteem. Being jobless can also cause someone to lose their sense of direction in life, which is often needed in order to feel true contentment and joy.

Abusive Relationships. People in difficult or abusive relationships are especially susceptible to depression, and especially so the longer they stay in such relationships. Much like a stressful job situation, an abusive relationship can make a person feel there is no way out. It can be hard to find hope in such a situation.

Isolation. Being lonely is painful. Being lonely for a long time is especially difficult, and psychologists have found that it can definitely lead to depression. It’s human nature to crave community – we want to know we’re not alone, and we want to share both our joys and our troubles with others. When we don’t have that opportunity, life can feel especially weighty. A study at the University of Chicago in 2006 found that loneliness specifically correlates to depression symptoms, and that middle-aged people tend to be the most lonely while older adults tend to be the least lonely.

If you find yourself going through any of the above life circumstances, take heart! You are not alone, and it’s normal to feel sad right now. If you believe you may be suffering from depression, contact your doctor to see what your options are. Many people find that psychiatric therapy and/or a medical regimen can greatly ease the pain of depression.

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, call 9-1-1 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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