WASHINGTON—Warning that the problem was even more widespread than previous studies had indicated, a new report published Tuesday in the journal American Psychologist found that one in five Americans struggle with properly masking depression. “According to our research, roughly 20 percent of the population has trouble effectively covering up their feelings of severe despondency and dejection by just acting like everything is fine,” said the report’s lead author, Dr. Lauren McKenny, adding that these individuals showed a marked inability to even pretend that they were excited to be awake and alive. “While most Americans are naturally adept at suppressing their emotions in order to put on a happy face for the rest of the world, we estimate that one-fifth of adults are completely at a loss as to how to lock away their constant sense of sadness and self-loathing so that no one else sees it. In especially severe cases, they may talk openly with friends or family about their depression, even going so far as to acknowledge seeking treatment for it.” McKenny went on to say that she hoped the report’s findings would lead to new medications to help these individuals better suppress their darkest, most painful thoughts while interacting with others.

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