(BPT) – Sadness and grief are normal human emotions. These feelings can often take a short time. However, when these emotions last for many days or weeks, depression becomes a concern.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical condition that has a negative impact on how you feel, how you think and how you act. Fortunately, depression is one of the most treatable mental disorders. Between 80 and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients get some relief from their symptoms.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the US have had at least one major depressive episode in a given year. According to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics, an estimated 8.1 percent of adults aged 20 years and older had depression in a given 2-week period in 2013-2016. Of those affected by depression, 80 percent indicated at least some difficulty in managing work, home and social activities.
In the past, the stigma surrounding depression caused some people not to seek help. While celebrities, musicians and even politicians talk about their own problems with depression, people have felt empowered to take the steps to find the help they need.
Symptoms of depression
It can be difficult to know when feeling down becomes something better. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a depressive episode may include some of these symptoms:
* Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
* Feelings of hopelessness
* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
* Restlessness, irritability
* Loss of interest or pleasure in hobby & # 39; s
* Reduced energy
* Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
* Insomnia, waking up early in the morning or overslept
* Low appetite and weight loss, or, overeating and weight gain
* Thoughts death or suicide
* Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be determined)
Three steps that can help
People who experience some or all of these symptoms can take action by following these three steps.
Step 1: Have yourself screened by a qualified mental health expert. Depression can only be determined by a health care professional who has special assessments and tools to make the correct diagnosis.
Step 2: Talk to your healthcare provider about a treatment plan. Depression can be managed with the right treatment options. A healthcare provider can determine the strategy that best suits you. Common treatment plans can include psychotherapy and medication.
Step 3: Follow a treatment plan closely and take medication as prescribed. Abruptly stopping medication can cause withdrawal symptoms that aggravate depression. If you are not insured or if your health insurance does not cover the medicines you need, there are programs that can help you. The Inside Rx program, for example, is a free prescription program that can save on average a 40 percent discount on certain brand name medications and an 80 percent discount on generic medicines. You can view the price of medicines, conditions and restrictions such as suitability requirements on InsideRx.com.
Depression does not discriminate. It affects all races, ages and sexes. Take these first steps to control your symptoms. Keep in mind that if you ever feel suicidal thoughts, you call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-8255.