Depression: the epidemic continues

DEPRESSION:  MISUNDERSTOOD AND HIGHLY TREATABLE

 

Depression is one of the most common psychological

problems.  It can strike anyone at any time.  In any given

year, more than 12 million Americans suffer from it.

According to a recent report from the Menninger Clinic,

depression costs us as much as 43 billion dollars each year

in lost productivity and medical treatment of physical

complaints.

You would think, given its prevalence, that depression

would be better understood.  But people tend to think the

depressed person should just be able to snap out of it, that

they’re simply sad or even just lazy.  This way of thinking

makes it less likely that a depressed person will seek

treatment.  This is most unfortunate since 80% of afflicted

persons will recover with proper care.

What is proper care?  Medication, psychotherapy or a

combination of both is the answer.  There is a new generation

of anti-depressant drugs on the market which are apparently safe

although their effectiveness is unclear at this point.

Psychotherapy can help to identify and change lifestyle

factors which may contribute to feeling defeated, deflated and

unmotivated.  Support groups also can help.

Information on depression is available on videos for

those wishing to develop a basic understanding of the

problem. The National Depressive and Manic-Depressive

Association (NDMDA) offers one called “Everyone Needs a Hand

to Hold Onto” (18 min., $15, 1-800-826-3632).  Medcom, Inc.

has a program entitled, “When Someone You Love Suffers From

Depression” (30 min., $24.95, 1-800-320-1444).

If you or someone you love has five or more of the

following symptoms for two weeks or longer, a depressive

disorder is indicated requiring professional attention:

1.  Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.

2.  Little or no interest in daily activities.

3.  Significant changes in weight or appetite.

4.  Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.

5.  Being hyperactive or slowed down.

6.  Fatigue or loss of energy.

7.  Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.

8.  Problems thinking, concentrating or making decisions

9.  Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

 

 

 

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