Depression is a very common illness. Some numbers estimate that as many as 6-7% of American adults may experience a depressive episode in any given year. In my experience, it’s very rare to meet someone who has not come in contact with depression either personally, through a family member or through a friend. Depression can affect people regardless of gender, age, race, socioeconomic level – it cuts across all boundaries. There are some trends, though, that have been observed: women seem to be diagnosed with depression significantly more frequently than men. It’s not clear whether this represents an actual difference or if the diagnosis and reporting are different between men and women. Depression seems to become a little bit less frequent as people age, and there may be some regional variations between different countries and different civilizations regarding the prevalence of depression, though this is somewhat debatable.