Depression is much more than the blues. It's:
- inability to meet professional or personal obligations
- procrastination, file stagnation and neglect, lowered productivity, missing deadlines (statutes, filing responsive pleadings or motions), excuse-making and misrepresentation to clients;
- emotional paralysis - unable to open mail or answer phones;
- persistent sadness or apathy, crying, anxiety, "empty" feeling;
- loss of interest or pleasure;
- trouble concentrating or remembering things;
- guilt, feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, low self-esteem;
- changes in sexual energy or desire;
- changes in eating, including loss of or significant increase in appetite;
- changes in sleep - marked increase or decrease in time spent sleeping;
- feelings of bafflement, confusion, loneliness, isolation, desolation, being overwhelmed, unavailable to what is going on around them; or
- thoughts of suicide, planning suicide or suicide attempts.
Who is at risk?
No one is completely immune. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated for major depression, whereas men are less likely to acknowledge depression - it may be masked by alcohol or drug abuse.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States - it affects 10 percent of the population, or 19 million people every year.
- Two-thirds of people affected by depression never seek treatment and suffer needlessly.
- The biggest issue is not deciding what treatment, but rather getting people into treatment.
- More than 80 percent of people with a depressive illness improve with appropriate treatment.
- Treatment can lessen the severity of depression and may also reduce the duration of the episode and help prevent additional bouts of depression.
Colleagues, family members and friends play important roles in recognition of depression symptoms and helping, those in need, get treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression or know a judge, lawyer, law student or law school graduate who is, or you even think is, in need of help, call Lawyers Helping Lawyers for free and confidential consultation, information or services.