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.
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.
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:
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.
Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
Depression Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/statistics/
Depression. (2019, September 16). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/depression.html
Survey of U.S. Workers Reveals Impact on Productivity from Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.workplacementalhealth.org/Mental-Health-Topics/Depression/Survey-of-U-S-Workers-Reveals-Impact-to-Productiv
Bipolar Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml