Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors
Strong signs of suicidality include talking about wanting to die, making plans, or attempting to take ones own life. Warning signs of suicidal intention include:
- Acquiring the means to commit suicide
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior
- Extreme agitation or anxiety
- Getting one’s affairs in order
- Increased use of substances such as drugs and alcohol
- Intense changes in mood/mood swings
- Saying goodbye to friends and family as though for the last time
- Feeling trapped or hopeless in ones situation
- Talking a lot about death, dying, and violence
- Talking about suicide or wishing that one hadn’t been born
- Withdrawal from friends or family
Why Are There Such Wide Variations
The stark contrasts between countries have led some to dub depression as a first world problem or a luxury. The logic is that if you are staring down the barrel of a gun or you dont know where the next meal is coming from, you have no time for such introspection.
Recent research points to myriad reasons, many overlapping: in particular less developed countries often lack the infrastructure to collect data on depression, and are less likely to recognise it as an illness. Also, people in these countries are more likely to feel a social stigma against talking about how they feel, and are reluctant to ask for professional help.
Statistics are also less simplistic than rich = depressed and poor = not depressed.
A paper in the journal Plos Medicine argues that, extremes aside, the majority of countries have similar rates of depression. It also found that the most depressed regions are eastern Europe, and north Africa and the Middle East and that, by country, the highest rate of years lost to disability for depression is in Afghanistan, and the lowest in Japan.
Are There Certain Risk Factors For Suicide With Untreated Depression
The risk factors for suicide associated with untreated depression include:
- Family history of mental or substance abuse disorder
- Family history of physical or sexual abuse
- Having attempted suicide previously
- Having family members or friends who have attempted suicide
- Having mental and substance abuse disorders
- Keeping a firearm in the home
If you or someone you know has risk factors for suicide and has also displayed warning signs, seek the help of a mental health care professional right away. Also, do not leave the person alone. People often talk about suicide before they attempt it, so pay close attention to what the person is saying.
Read Also: Impact Of Depression On Daily Life
Who Can Be Treated Successfully For Clinical Depression
More than 80% of people with clinical depression can be successfully treated with early recognition, intervention, and support.
Depression affects almost 19 million people each year, including a large portion of the working population. People with untreated depression can usually get to work. But once there, they may be irritable, fatigued, and have difficulty concentrating. Untreated depression makes it difficult for employees to work well.
Most people do best with depression treatment using psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both. For treatment-resistant depression, one that does not respond to medication, there are alternative treatments. One example is electroconvulsive therapy or ECT. There is also TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation, or a novel intranasal ketamine spray.
National Institute of Mental Health: âWhat is Depression?â and “Suicide in the US: Statistics and Prevention.”
The National Womenâs Health Information Center: âDepression.â
National Cancer Institute: âDepression .â
Food and Drug Administration: âThe Lowdown on Depression.â
Mental Health America: âFacts about Depression and Suicide.â
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Pub, 2000.
Fieve, R. Bipolar II, Rodale Books, 2006.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: “The Impact and Cost of Mental Illness: The Case of Depression.”
Depression Is A Mental Illness And Should Be Taken Seriously
One would think that an illness that affects 17.3 million people and is closely correlated with suicidal ideation, drug use disorder, and drastic drops in productivity is taken very seriously. One would think that given the impact depression has on our lives, it would be our collective responsibility to identify and treat it in friends, family members, and all of society. But the reality is much more cynical. While many identify depression as a serious problem, theres a stark stigma against mental illnesses in general, and even primary care physicians fail to properly address their own bias against mental health problems.
The simple truth of the matter is that, either consciously or subconsciously, most people dont take depression as seriously as other chronic conditions, such as chronic pain, diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease. Patients with depression are less likely to get adequate care, adequate follow-up care, or even find the care they need to begin with. A mere fraction of people approximated to have major depressive disorder seek or receive treatment and even fewer go through with the treatment they receive. Depression is a severe mental illness and it is treatable.
Don’t Miss: Can A Traumatic Event Cause Depression
How Can I Help My Teen Live With Major Depression
As a parent, you play a key role in your teens treatment. Here are things you can do to help:
Keep all appointments with your teens healthcare provider.
Talk with your teens healthcare provider about other providers who will be involved in your teens care. Your teen may get care from a team that may include counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Your teens care team will depend on his or her needs and how serious the depression is.
Tell others about your teens depression. Work with your teens healthcare provider and schools to develop a treatment plan.
Reach out for support from local community services. Being in touch with other parents who have a teen with depression may be helpful.
Take all symptoms of depression and suicide very seriously. Seek treatment right away. Suicide is a health emergency. Talk with your teens healthcare provider for more information on suicide including whom to call and what to do . Have a written emergency plan.
For several reasons, many parents never seek the right treatment for their teen with depression. This is true even though many people with major depression who seek treatment get better. They often improve within weeks. Continued treatment may help keep symptoms from coming back.
Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancingwhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk.If you dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
Read Also: Online Test For Depression And Anxiety
What Is The Outlook For People With Major Depression
Major depression can be treated in many cases. You and your doctor or therapist can work together to find a combination of treatments that is likely to be most effective. You can also continue to adjust your treatment based on how you feel and whether your symptoms are improving.
Many employers, health professionals, and advocacy organizations recognize that depression can be a disability. Indeed, a recent literature review found that depression is a risk factor for retirement due to disability.
Prevention and treatment can reduce symptoms of depression as well as reduce the likelihood the depression will become debilitating.
How Does Untreated Clinical Depression Affect Physical Health
There is mounting evidence that clinical depression takes a serious toll on physical health. The most recent studies exploring health and major depression have looked at patients with stroke or coronary artery disease. Results have shown that people with major depression who are recovering from strokes or heart attacks have a more difficult time making health care choices. They also find it more difficult to follow their doctor’s instructions and to cope with the challenges their illness presents. Another study found that patients with major depression have a higher risk of death in the first few months after a heart attack.
Also Check: How To Help Gf With Depression
Does Depression Affect Children
Depression can affect people of any age, including children. Although children naturally have mood swings as they grow and develop, depression is different. The disorder can affect how children interact with friends and family. It may prevent them from enjoying school, sports, hobbies or other normal childhood activities.
In children, depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. Anxiety is a medical condition that causes feelings of fear, panic or worry about everyday situations. Sometimes, depression or anxiety in children gets chalked up to growing pains. But if you have any concerns about behavioral or mental health, talk to a healthcare provider.
Possible Complications Of Depression & Addiction
Depression can lead to many serious consequences, and depression usually worsens if untreated.2 Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness may lead the individual to engage in self-defeating behaviors and unhealthy lifestyle choices .
Depression is associated with physical health problems such as:2,10,11
- Coronary artery disease.
At least some of the connection between depression and these issues may be because individuals with depression tend to have unhealthy eating patterns, exercise less, and have difficulties taking care of their health.10
Other possible complications linked to depression include:2
- Substance misuse.
- Other mental illnesses .
- Suicide attempts/death by suicide.*
*WHO reports that suicide is the second-leading cause of death in individuals aged 1529 and that nearly 800,000 people die by suicide each year.
Read Also: What Medications Treat Bipolar Depression
Prioritize Getting Good Sleep
Since depression may be causing you to have disordered sleeping habits, it can be helpful to develop better sleep habits.
Sleep hygiene pretty much just means good sleeping habits. Here are some ways of implementing sleep hygiene:
- Be consistent with sleep and wake times. Try going to bed at roughly the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. This way, your body becomes accustomed to a certain routine that optimizes healthy sleeping.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature. You can experiment with different room temperatures or try out a white noise machine. With patience, you might discover the best room environment to promote sleep.
- Remove TVs, computers, and smartphones from the bedroom. This may seem like an impossible task sometimes, but avoiding harsh blue light will help you fall asleep faster.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
How do you know if you or your loved one may have depression? Does depression look different as you age? Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because older people may have different symptoms than younger people. For some older adults with depression, sadness is not their main symptom. They could instead be feeling more of a numbness or a lack of interest in activities. They may not be as willing to talk about their feelings.
The following is a list of common symptoms. Still, because people experience depression differently, there may be symptoms that are not on this list.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, waking up too early in the morning, or oversleeping
- Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
If you have several of these signs and symptoms and they last for more than two weeks, talk with your doctor. These could be signs of depression or another health condition. Dont ignore the warning signs. If left untreated, serious depression may lead to death by suicide.
Read Also: Ways To Get Motivated When Depressed
Depression And Older Adults
Feeling down every once in a while is a normal part of life, but if these feelings last a few weeks or months, you may have depression. Read this article to find common signs and symptoms of depression, treatment options, and if you or your loved one may be at risk for depression.
On this page:
Which Types Of Talk Therapy Work Best For Depression
- Behavioral activation therapy The aim of this type of therapy is to reverse the downward spiral of depression by encouraging you to seek out experiences and activities that give you joy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on changing specific negative thought patterns so that you are able to better respond to challenging and stressful situations.
- Interpersonal therapy This very structured, time-limited form of therapy focuses on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances directly related to your current depressive mood.
- Problem-solving therapy This therapy is a form of CBT that teaches take-charge skills that help you solve real-life problems and stressors, big and small, that contribute to depression.
- Self-management/self-control therapy This type of behavioral therapy trains you to lessen your negative reactions to events and reduce your self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.
When To Get Professional Help For Depression
If youve taken self-help steps and made positive lifestyle changes and still find your depression getting worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesnt mean youre weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like youre a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!
Dont forget about these self-help tips, though. Even if youre receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.
When Should I Call My Teens Healthcare Provider
Feels extreme depression, fear, anxiety, or anger toward him or herself or others
Feels out of control
Hears voices that others dont hear
Sees things that others dont see
Cant sleep or eat for 3 days in a row
Shows behavior that concerns friends, family, or teachers, and others express concern about this behavior and ask you to seek help
if your teen has suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan.
Do I Need Health Insurance To Receive This Service
The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.
Should You Worry About Antidepressant Withdrawal
More to the point, while you should slowly stop your antidepressant with the help of your doctor, antidepressants do not cause dependence and withdrawal like other substances. Unlike substances that are known to cause addiction, such as alcohol, opioids, and barbiturates, people don’t crave antidepressants. You dont get high from them, and they arent intentionally or compulsively overused. Serious reactions like the seizures and agitation that can follow sudden withdrawal from addictive substances are unheard of when these antidepressants are tapered gradually, note the authors of the Psychiatric Times report.
Recurring Chronic Manageable And Undertreated
Depression is often recurring, sometimes chronic, and sometimes very severe. Yet it is always serious, affecting more than just the mind. While primary care physicians are not specialized to treat patients with depressive disorders , they are more often than not the first professionals a person is likely to go to in the event that they suspect they are depressed.
While some effort is being made to help screen for depression among people through their regular checkups, theres not much effort in actually treating the depression once it has been identified despite the fact that depression is very treatable.
It takes courage to go to a professional about your mental health issues, even today. While much progress has been made on educating the public about mental illness, theres still a prevailing stigma in society that depression is not as serious as other illnesses, and that many of the symptoms presented by people with depression are character faults rather than a part of the condition.
This stigma makes it difficult to convince the many teens and adults who struggle with depressive symptoms to come forward and seek help. Cost is another issue. Effective and timely treatments for depression are not always covered by health insurance.
These factors all come together to highlight a serious problem: depression, like many other mental illnesses, is recognized yet often left untreated, partly due to lack of resources and partly due to bias and ignorance.