Depression is a common mental disorder Characterized by sadness loss of interest or pleasure feelings of guilt or low self-worth Disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and poor concentration 1 in 10 US adults report depression People who are most likely to suffer from Depression are Persons 45 to 64 years of age Women Blacks, Hispanics, Non-Hispanic persons of other races or multiple races Divorced people, the unemployed or individuals unable to work People without health insurance and people with less than a high school education There are approximately 121 million people in the world Currently suffering from some type of depression Americans are responsible for 30 to 36 percent of that total amount
The US states with the most people suffering from Depression are Oklahoma Arkansas Louisiana Mississippi Alabama Tennessee and West Virginia States with higher rates of depression also have higher rates of obesity, stroke, heart disease Sleep disorders, lack of education and less access to medical insurance Nearly one half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US Affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older Anxiety disorders cost the US More than 42 billion dollars a year, almost one third of the country’s 148 billion Dollar Total mental health Bill Women are twice as likely to suffer from Depression
One in ten women will experience symptoms of depression after giving birth 80% of depressed people are not being treated for depression The number of people who are diagnosed with depression increases 20% each year 11% of the US population has been prescribed antidepressants 60 to 80 percent of depressed people can be helped with medication and psychotherapy
Do you sometimes feel sad or have the blues? This is normal and a part of every day living. It’s also normal to feel depressed after a loved one dies or after a serious illness diagnosis. We may cry, have trouble sleeping or lose our appetite, but what’s not normal is to feel this way for long periods of time. Depression is a mood disorder that affects how you feel and think and how you manage daily activities. Depression can happen at any time in your life.
Major depression can affect more than your mood; for example, you might be sleeping a lot or not sleeping enough. You could lose weight or gain weight and generally lose interest in your life. You may even have thoughts about your own death. Sometimes depression happens when a person has other serious conditions like cancer, heart disease, or PTSD. Also, a person may be abusing drugs or alcohol or withdrawing from them and could also be suffering from depression.
It’s important that Veterans seen at VA facilities are screened every year for depression. Depression can be difficult to diagnose, especially when a person has a tough time talking about their feelings. It can be a sensitive topic to bring up with a healthcare provider. However, sometimes a spouse or partner will mention their loved one is having trouble sleeping and is grouchy all the time. With these symptoms, there’s often a problem with depression going on too. Some other signs and symptoms of depression may include feeling anxious or having an empty mood that won’t go away, feeling hopeless or worthless, losing interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed, feeling aches or pains that don’t have a clear cause even after they’ve been treated.
The good news is that depression can be treated successfully so you can return to feeling more like yourself. If you are a Veteran enrolled in VA healthcare and you or your loved one suspects you may have depression contact your VA primary care provider, a patient aligned care team member, or a mental health professional for help. If you are diagnosed with depression your treatment may include medication and psychotherapy, which is also called cognitive behavior therapy or a combination of both. Psychotherapy helps by teaching you new ways of thinking and behaving and changing habits that can add to your depression. People usually do best when they receive both kinds of treatment. Gradually with proper treatment, you’ll start to feel better, during this time continue to do things you enjoy but go easy on yourself.
Be active and be with other people, get good rest, eat at regular times, ask for help from your family, friends, and your healthcare team. Put off making any major life decisions until you feel better. Remember don’t use alcohol or drugs that are not prescribed to you because they can make your depression worse and harder to treat.