People who are managing a mental health disorder are often met with resistance, including those who have depression. It is common for someone to say “just snap out of it” or “be positive,” which can make the person feel even worse.
Stigma and stereotypes have been attached to mental health for decades. Many people who live with depression would be afraid to voice their feelings. If there is a silver lining about mental health awareness today, it’s that we have become more open to what others say about how they think and feel, and we are willing to help them find help. The right therapies and treatment can help those who are depressed ease back into everyday life.
Depression can affect individuals from all walks of life, no matter their background, age, race, or sexual orientation. Despite years of chipping away at the stigma, it still exists when it comes to the treatment of mental health. As we described above, the same people who tell others to merely “get over it” can view this as a weakness. Similar to anyone developing physical health issues, mental health problems are not always preventable.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) estimates that 17.3 million adults in the United States, or 7.1 percent of the population 18 or older, are affected by a major depressive disorder in a given year. The same study highlights that men are more affected by these disorders than women, and nearly 1.9 million children ages three through 17 have diagnosed depression.
Nearly 20 percent of Americans who have depression also have a substance use disorder. It’s common for individuals with mood disorders to self-medicate so that they can cope with their symptoms. Unfortunately, many of those who struggle with depression will not get help, and many of them will succumb to their substance abuse and die. It’s essential to speak up if you are struggling or to offer someone your assistance if you believe they are depressed.
Types Of Depression
Depression can cause severe symptoms that affect how you feel and how you manage daily activities, such as eating, sleeping, and working. To receive a depression diagnosis from a physician, you must experience symptoms for at least two weeks.
As you might expect, there are varying degrees of depression, which can range from mild to severe, and they may develop under different circumstances. Below, we examine the different types of depressive disorders.
- Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): This form of depression is also known as dysthymia, is a depressed mood that persists for at least two years. Someone diagnosed with this disorder may experience episodes of severe depression, along with periods of less severe symptoms. The symptoms must last for at least two years to be diagnosed as persistent depressive disorder.
- Psychotic depression: This occurs when someone experiences severe depression and a form of psychosis, such as disturbing delusions or hearing things that others cannot see or hear. These symptoms have a depressive theme, such as poverty, delusions of guilt, or illness.
- Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it can be grouped into this category because someone experiencing bipolar disorder will experience extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression. The phenomenon is known as bipolar depression. A person with bipolar disorder will experience extreme highs known as mania that are followed by extreme lows.
Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Someone who experiences the following symptoms most of the day, every day, for at least two weeks may have depression. You must seek medical care immediately. These symptoms include:
- Feeling pessimistic or hopeless
- Persistent sadness, anxious, or empty mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in your favorite hobbies or activities
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Inability to wake up in the morning
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Unable to sleep
- Appetite changes
- Changes in weight
- Thoughts of death or suicide attempts
Depression: How Much Does It Cost?
While the impact of depression can be profound, there are secondary effects of depression that others who do not struggle with depression can experience. Depression is the leading cause of disability globally and is one of the most significant contributors to the overall global burden of disease. Neuropsychiatric disorders are considered the leading cause of disability in the United States, with major depressive disorders as the most common.
While it’s challenging to put a monetary figure on depression, it is estimated that U.S. employers spend $100 billion yearly on effects of the disorder. It is also estimated that $44 billion is lost in productivity alone. Nearly 23 percent of U.S. workers and managers indicated that they’d received a diagnosis of depression at some time in their life.
If depression is severe enough, it can lead to suicide, which can have profound effects on the family. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it may be time to get help. You are never alone in this journey, no matter how low you may feel. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.