Depression Statistics: Disturbing Trends Helpful Treatment
Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who, like Kashuk, know exactly what it means to be depressed. An estimated 17.3 million, or 7 percent, of adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, making it one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States.
Whats more, a recent report from Mental Health America, a nonprofit founded in 1909, offers startling statistics pertaining to one of depression’s most disturbing symptoms: thoughts of suicide.
According to its 2021 State of Mental Health in America report, suicidal ideation among adults increased by 0.15 percent between the 2016-2017 calendar year and the 2017-2018 calendar year, the most recent years for which statistics are available.
There is a bright side. Although there is no one-size-fits-all cure for depression, there are many effective treatment options, one of which is bound to help you heal if youre struggling with the illness. This cannot be emphasized enough, given that roughly two-thirds of people living with depression do not receive the care they need, according to a report in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, published online February 22, 2019.
How To Tell If You Have Depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, anxiety or low mood during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
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What Is The Link Between Smoking And Mental Health Conditions
Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than in the general population.6 About 3 out of every 10 cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by persons with mental health conditions.6 Why smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions is uncertain. More research is needed to determine this. No matter the cause smoking is not a treatment for depression or anxiety. Getting help for your depression and anxiety and quitting smoking is the best way to feel better.
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What If My Symptoms Dont Improve
If youre not responding to treatment, you may live with treatment resistant depression. This is when your symptoms have not improved after at least 2 standard treatments. This can also be known as treatment-refractory depression.
There is currently no official criteria used to diagnose treatment resistant depression.
What treatment is available for treatment-resistant depression?There are treatment options for treatment resistant depression. Even if antidepressants have not worked already for you, your doctor may suggest a different antidepressant from a different class.
The new antidepressant you are offered will depend on the first antidepressant you were given.
Sometimes your doctor can prescribe a second type of medication to go with your antidepressant. This can sometimes help the antidepressant work better than it does by itself.
Where antidepressants have not worked, your doctor may suggest talking therapies, ECT or brain stimulation treatments. See the previous section for more information on these.
What is an implanted vagus nerve stimulator, and how is it used in treatment resistant depression?If you live with treatment resistant depression, and youve not responded to other treatments, you may be able ask for an implanted vagus nerve stimulator.
Please speak to your doctor if youre interested in this treatment and for more information. You may be able to get this treatment funded through an Individual Funding Request.
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How Are Depression And Sleep Related
Depression and sleep are closely connected. Almost all people with depression experience sleep issues. In fact, doctors may hesitate to diagnose depression in the absence of complaints about sleep.
Depression and sleep issues have a bidirectional relationship. This means that poor sleep can contribute to the development of depression and that having depression makes a person more likely to develop sleep issues. This complex relationship can make it challenging to know which came first, sleep issues or depression.
Sleep issues associated with depression include insomnia, hypersomnia, and obstructive sleep apnea. Insomnia is the most common and is estimated to occur in about 75% of adult patients with depression. It is believed that about 20% of people with depression have obstructive sleep apnea and about 15% have hypersomnia. Many people with depression may go back and forth between insomnia and hypersomnia during a single period of depression.
Sleep issues may contribute to the development of depression through changes in the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Sleep disruptions can affect the bodys stress system, disrupting circadian rhythms and increasing vulnerability for depression.
Fortunately, people who are treated for major depression often report improved quality of their sleep.
Demand To Feel Well Again
If you went through a severe depression, you may be relieved to just feel OK again. You might not be happy, but you’re grateful that you can get out of bed and go to work.
But that isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to just feel less miserable. You deserve to feel well again, to feel as good as you once did. If your current treatment isn’t allowing that, then you need to make certain everything is being done to improve symptoms as fully as possible. There are many different ways of treating depression — therapy, medicines, and lifestyle changes — that can help.
So don’t settle for feeling just OK. You and your health care provider need to work together. With some effort and good treatment, you can feel truly well again.
American Psychological Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition, Text Revision, Washington American Psychiatric Association, 2000.Ã
American Psychiatric Association, Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depression, 2000.Ã
Compton M. Ã ACP Medicine, Psychiatry II, 2003.Ã
Fochtmann, L. Focus, Winter 2005.Ã
National Mental Health Association: “Depression: What You Need to Know.”Ã
National Institute of Mental Health: “The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America.”Ã
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How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you dont know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You dont have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Dont expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone
Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.
Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.
Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.
Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
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When Does Low Mood Become Depression
We all have times when our mood is low, and we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually these feelings pass in due course.
But if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back over and over again for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing depression. See our page on the symptoms of depression for more information.
When You Should Contact A Doctor
If youre not feeling better 2 weeks postpartum, get in touch with your doctor. While youll be screened for PPD at your 6-week postpartum appointment, you dont have to wait that long. In fact, doing so can make it take longer for your PPD to get better.
After 2 weeks, if youre still experiencing intense feelings, its probably not the baby blues. In some ways, thats good news: It means you can do something about the way you feel. You dont have to wait it out.
When you do ask for help, be as honest as possible. We know its difficult to talk about the negative emotions associated with new parenthood, and it can be scary to reveal just how much youre struggling. However, the more open you are about your PPD, the better and faster your provider will be able to help you.
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How Long Can Postpartum Depression Take To Appear
Although many people might think that postpartum depression only appears right after birth, thats not always the case. Many cases of PPD do appear shortly after birth, due to the abrupt hormonal changes that take place once you deliver your baby usually 4 to 6 weeks after birth. But for other women, symptoms of PPD can appear anytime within the first 18 months of their babys life.
In these cases, it can be even more difficult to diagnose PPD. New mothers usually have follow-up appointments a few weeks after birth, but after that, many dont go to the doctor regularly. This lack of medical attention can delay the diagnosis of late-onset PPD.
Physicians believe that delayed postpartum depression is also associated with the decreased support that new mothers experience after the first few weeks of their babys life. After their partners have gone back to work, and the support that they received during those first few weeks has diminished, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and alone.
Why It Might Last Longer For You
The timeline for PPD is different for everyone. If you have certain risk factors, you might find your PPD lasting longer even with treatment. The severity of your symptoms and how long you had symptoms before beginning treatment can affect how long your PPD lasts.
Risk factors include:
- a history of depression or other mental illness
- breastfeeding difficulties
- a complicated pregnancy or delivery
- a lack of support from your partner or family members and friends
- other major life changes occurring during the postpartum period, like a move or loss of employment
- a history of PPD after a previous pregnancy
Theres no formula to determine who will experience PPD and who wont, or for how long itll last. But with the right treatment, especially when its received early, you can find relief even if you have one of these risk factors.
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Half Of Covid Survivors Struggle With Depression
TUESDAY, March 16, 2021 — To the lingering damage of COVID-19 infection, add this side effect: New research shows that more than half of those sickened by COVID-19 report depression.
Among more than 3,900 people who had COVID-19 surveyed between May 2020 and January 2021, 52% suffered symptoms of major depression, researchers found.
“People who have been ill with COVID-19 can experience depressive symptoms for many months after their initial illness,” said lead researcher Dr. Roy Perlis. He is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and associate chief of research in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.
The combination of chronic stress during the pandemic and disruption of people’s social networks is already a recipe for depression and anxiety, Perlis said.
“This observation reinforces the importance of understanding whether this is an effect of COVID-19 itself, or simply the stress of dealing with the pandemic plus an acute illness,” Perlis added.
The researchers also found that those with depression were more likely to be young, male and have suffered from severe COVID-19.
Earlier studies had found a connection between depression and the loss of smell and taste among COVID-19 patients, but Perlis and his colleagues did not find this relationship.
The report was published online March 12 in JAMA Network Open.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of irritability, frustration or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
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Talking To Family And Friends
It can be difficult talking to family members and friends after a miscarriage if they have not experienced a miscarriage themselves. You’re likely to receive platitudes about miscarriage, such as “at least you’re young and can get pregnant again,” or worse yet, “at least you didn’t get to know the baby.”
Rather than being helpful as these comments are often intended, they can be hurtful, leaving you even more alone with your feelings. Many women find it helpful to seek out others in their family or group of friends, or even people online who have experienced a miscarriage.
While there is nothing anyone can say, it can make you feel less alone to know that someone else has experienced at least a few of the feelings you are now coping with alone.
What Treatment Should I Be Offered
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.
Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.
NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.
Step 1: Everyone who may have depression
Your doctor should offer you:
- an assessment of your symptoms,
- support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
- information on how to deal with your symptoms,
- monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 2: Mild to moderate depression
Your doctor may offer you:
- low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- physical activity programmes,
- group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked
Your doctor may suggest:
Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:
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