Fact Sheet – Depression

Definition

Depression is a serious medical condition that is disabling and can be characterized by three categories of symptoms, including mood, physical and cognitive changes that prevent a person from functioning normally.

  1. 1. Mood Symptoms - feeling sad, anxious or "empty,” irritable, restlessness
  2. 2. Physical Symptoms - changes in sleep, appetite and energy levels, as well as persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  3. 3. Cognitive/Thought Symptoms - difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions, as well feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and/or helplessness

The Facts -

  • More than 19 million Americans suffer from depression, regardless of age, race, or gender.
  • Less than half of those suffering from depression seek treatment
  • More than 80% of all people with depression can be successfully treated through combination of meds and psychotherapy.
  • Women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men
  • Married people have a lower rate of depression than those living alone. However, unhappily married people have the highest rates of depression; happily married men have the lowest rates.
  • Approximately 10%-15% of all new mothers get postpartum depression, which most frequently occurs within the first year after the birth of a child
  • Depression is NOT a normal part of aging -- symptoms get overlooked and untreated especially when it coincides with other medical illnesses or life events that commonly occur as people age
  • Older patients with symptoms of depression have roughly 50% higher healthcare costs than non-depressed seniors

Why Screen?
Screening for anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses is important because it allows health care providers to identify these illnesses early on, making treatment more effective.

Treatment?
A combination of psychotherapy (i.e., talk therapy) and medication works in over 90 percent of the cases for people suffering from Depression. The decision is made based on a person’s history, severity, need and is made between the client and their health care professional.

Latest Research?
Research results from a 2009 independent study, conducted by the University of Connecticut, and commissioned by SMH; found that confidential online screenings, which are highly accessible and non-threatening to users - do help with getting people into treatment. The research showed that 55% of study participants who completed an online depression screening sought treatment within three months of completing the screening.

Suicide Risk?
Not all depressed people have thoughts of suicide. But all people who are suicidal are usually depressed, which is why treatment is essential. If someone has suicidal thoughts and/or plans for killing themselves, regardless of whether they’re experiencing any of the other symptoms of depression, they should seek immediate help by going to an emergency room, or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

© 2010 Screening for Mental Health, Inc.