To say, 'Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression' (Proverbs 12:25) is hardly news today. But here's some news that may surprise you:
* 40 million adults in the United States suffer from depression. That's 18% of the U.S. population. (Not counting undiagnosed cases.)
* 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 take an anti-depressant.
* 23% of women in their 40s and 50s take antidepressants, a higher percentage than any other group (by age or gender).
* $11.3 billion dollars is spent on anti-depressant medications in the United States (2012 stat). The world's most prosperous people are the world's 'most depressed' people.
* Globally, more than 350 million people suffer from depression.
These facts are alarming. The Latin root of the word, depression, is depressio, which means 'Pressed down.' Consider one medical meaning: 'A low state of vital powers or functional activity.' Both definitions are accurate.**
Consider also: God prompted me to write this devotion series in December: Christmas season. Why?
'We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season' (Psychology Today).***
Why? 1) Decreased daylight hours; 2) Increased pressure to purchase; 3) Loneliness without families; 3) Loneliness within dysfunctional families; 4) Sadness in the past year's remembrance; 5) Worry in the new year's anticipation;
And/or... 6) The enemy: Is this his busiest season?
To Be Continued...
* Resources for facts about depression: Harvard Health News: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624
* Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/real-healing/201202/do-anti-depressants-really-work
* World Health Organization Key Facts: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/
* Anxiety and Depression Association of America: http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
* Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/making-money-from-addiction-30-million-americans-on-antidepressants-and-20-other-facts-about-americas-big-pharma-nightmare/5399444
** Definitions of depression: Random House Dictionary (pathology definition): http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/depression; Etymology Dictionary: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=depression&searchmode=none
*** Psychology Today article on Christmas depression: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/200912/why-people-get-depressed-christmas
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Depression series.