Over 80% of People with Depression Can be Successfully Treated
Depression affects between 10% and 25% of American women and 5% to 12% of American men during their lifetimes. Depression is a medical illness that can impact every part of your life – from your mood to your behaviors. This week (October 1-7) is Mental Illness Awareness Week, and October 5th is National Depression Screening Day. That means on Thursday, you can get a free mental health screening by visiting HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.
Unfortunately, many people never get the help they need for depression. Some people don’t realize they’re depressed, while others blame themselves for feeling depressed. Studies have shown that severe depression can be just as disabling as chronic physical illnesses, so getting a mental health screening is so important.
What is Depression?
When a person is depressed, they’ll often feel sad, helpless, and hopeless. Their thoughts will be negative, and their eating and sleeping habits change. Depression can make a person lose interest in life and is the most common cause of suicide.
It’s important to understand that depression symptoms can be mild or severe. They can also last for a short or long time. Some people experiencing depression get headaches, stomach problems, sexual problems, and body aches and pains. They might have feelings of worry, anxiousness, or guilt, and they might lose energy or have trouble concentrating and making decisions. Their social and family lives suffer, and studies have shown that they’re more likely to get sick from other illnesses.
What Causes Depression?
Depression is thought to run in families. It can be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, life changes, hormonal changes, medical illnesses, drug or alcohol abuse, Season Affective Disorder (SAD), medications, or emotional issues.
How is Depression Treated?
The good news is that up to 80% of people who receive treatment for depression see an improvement in their symptoms within four to six weeks of starting that treatment. Methods of treatment depend on the diagnosis, so getting help starts with seeing your doctor for a complete physical exam. If you’re diagnosed with depression, your doctor might prescribe medications, psychotherapy, or hospital care in the case of severe depression.
It’s important that you follow your doctor’s instructions, take your prescribed medications, and ask your doctor before taking any other prescription medicines, over the counter medications, or herbs that could negatively interact with the medications that are prescribed to treat your depression. You should also limit your alcohol intake, and don’t take illegal drugs. Exercise, healthy eating, and support groups are also helpful.
There are several national health groups where you can learn more about depression and get contact information for treatment centers in your local area. Here are a few with phone numbers to help you get started:
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: 800-826-3632
- National Institute of Mental Health: 866-615-6464
- Mental Health American (MHA): 800-969-6642
Most importantly, understand that depression is an illness. It affects people of all ages and costs the United States an estimated $43 to $53 billion per year in treatment and lost wages. Depression is a leading cause of disability in the U.S., but as the data shows, treatment can help four out of five people. With that said, don’t forget that National Depression Screening Day is Thursday. Spread the word to your friends and family!
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All information contained on this website are for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to be taken as medical or other health advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical professional. IN THE CASE OF A MEDICAL EMERGENCY OR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, IMMEDIATELY CALL 911.
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