Number of Patients Diagnosed with Depression in the U.S. is on the Rise
Depression is a depressive and serious mood disorder which causes changes in the way one feels and thinks about and deals with day-to-day activities, including eating, working, and sleeping. If one experiences the signs for more than 2 weeks, he/she is probably suffering from clinical depression.
How to Recognize Depression?
As previously noted, in case one experiences several of the main symptoms of depression, they should consult their physician so that the underlying cause can be determined and adequately addressed. These are the major signs: a constant feeling of sadness, worthlessness, and anxiousness, as well as pessimism and hopelessness, irritability, disinterest in hobbies and activities, tiredness, talking and moving slower than before, restlessness, an inability to focus and remember, weight changes, changes in appetite, death and suicide thoughts, suicide attempts, frequent headaches, cramps, and pain without an apparent reason.
The Rise of U.S. Citizens Being Diagnosed with Depression
Sadly, according to statistics, one in ten American adults suffers from depression; and, the risk is twice higher in women. This disorder is most common among African Americans (9 percent) and the least common in Asians (3 percent) whereas 8 percent is the rate among Hispanics and Whites. Dr. David Roan from Lenox Hill Hospital in NY claims that one of the most challenging parts of this health issue is the diagnosis and treatment. An effective treatment or management of the disease can be achieved, as Roan asserts, with talk therapy in combination with the right antidepressants. Self-care is also a pivotal element and it is consisted of getting enough sleep, being physically active, and following a healthy diet comprised of nutritive foods that are good for both the body and brain.
The Causes of Depression
This mental disorder is usually triggered by a set of biological, genetic, psychological, and environmental factors and even though it may occur at an earlier age, it usually starts during adulthood. Though the exact reason remains unknown, there are specific factors that can elevate the risk, especially if they occur approximately in the same period of one’s life. Some of these factors are prolonged difficulties like unemployment, loneliness, trauma, work-related stress, uncaring or/and abusive relationship, etc; personal factors such as family history, type of personality (people who are negative and perfectionists, those who tend to worry a lot, and individuals who have a low self-esteem), serious medical problem/s, and alcohol or drug abuse; and brain changes associated with mood regulation due to excessive or low amount of a specific chemical in the brain.
Why Are Women more Susceptible to Depression than Men?
As newest studies and statistics point out, women have a twofold higher risk of depression than men, as well as a threefold one from anxiety and suicide. However, what do we know about the link between mental health issue and females? With this in mind, it is important to take a look at the following different observations that appear to support the validity of such claims.
- Hormonal differences
Unlike men, women are more prone to hormonal fluctuations that have to do with depression symptoms. Namely, they may experience postpartum and menopause depression, as well as hypothyroidism which is frequently linked to this disorder.
According to identical and fraternal twin studies and family history records, the genetic predisposition in women is much stronger than the one in men.
- Longer life span
Since women live longer than men and because old age is often connected to loneliness, poor health, and bereavement, the risk of suffering from depression elevates.
- Bigger involvement in personal relationships
With an increasing number of women becoming a part of the workforce, they find it more stressful to succeed in balancing their family responsibilities, like taking care of elderly relatives, and their jobs.
- Consulting their physicians more
When women feel unwell or experience some of the major depression symptoms, the likelihood of them getting checked up is higher than the one in men; hence, they are therefore more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Known as the SAD syndrome, this health issue is 4 times more evident in women than in men and the prevalence enlarges the farther one lives from the Equator. For example, in Tromso, Norway, there are around 50 days during winter period when the sun is not seen and as a result, the capacity for work and the concentration in people lowers and they feel tired all the time, which is known to contribute to depression in women.
The Controversy about Antidepressants
Antidepressants are meds that are prescribed for the treatment of depression. Their goal is to better the way in which our brain uses specific chemicals that regulate our mood or stress. Their effect is visible within 2 to 4 weeks and every reduction, increase, or ceasing must be done in consultation with the doctor who prescribed the therapy. Otherwise, the risk of depression relapse is higher and withdrawal symptoms can also appear.
It is also important to note that same as with other medications, antidepressants can provoke a set of unpleasant side effects such as weight gain, loss of sexual desire and erectile dysfunction, tiredness, dry mouth, insomnia, blurriness, dizziness, and irritability. What’s more, people younger than 25 may experience more suicidal thoughts and behavior in the first couple of weeks of taking antidepressants and this is why they must be supervised closely.
As a consequence, antidepressants have always been a controversial topic. Even though psychiatry continues recommending them due to a history of efficacy, on the other hand, there are critics who consider these meds to be merely a short-term solution and believe that they cause more harm than good, for which there is also evidence.
Be it as it may, an innovative study has shown that antidepressants are definitely effective and are not a Big Pharma conspiracy, as thought by now. The researchers explain that they came to the conclusion that there are antidepressants with the poorest effect like Prozac and antidepressants that worked the most like amitriptyline. Nevertheless, further research is necessary so that it can be determined which medication would work optimally for every individual.
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