I gathered some statistics about depression today from several websites. Here’s what I found:
- Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
- Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression.
- Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers — over a million — are clinically depressed.
- The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23% .
- 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
- 30% of women are depressed. Men’s figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.
- 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
- 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
- 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.
- 92% of depressed African-American males do not seek treatment.
- 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
- Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 — and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.
Sounds like it is time to discuss depression as an occurrence that might be described as heading in the direction of an epidemic.
I suppose depression still carries so much stigma because it is considered to be a psychological illness and is, therefore, all in the mind. Truth be told, depression is actually all in the brain and is sustained by low levels of the brain chemicals, a recognizable one is called serotonin.
Think of it this way. If your pancreas is not producing insulin, would you ignore the ensuing diabetes.? I sure hope not; because people who care about you would start to become quite upset at having to tend to you when you repeatedly fall into a diabetic coma. You most probably would treat this illness with a strict regimen of insulin treatment.
If your thyroid malfunctioned, would you suffer in embarrassment, or would you start taking some medication like Synthroid so that you could feel healthy and on the top of your game? I’m pretty sure you would opt for the medication.
If you suffered from hypertension, would you pray not to endure a stroke or would you take a beta blocker so that your blood pressure could be controlled? You know the answer.
If people would begin to regard depression as the physiological problem that it truly is, maybe they would begin to seek treatment just as they would with any other physical condition. Low mood, hopelessness, despair, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, anxiety, sleep disturbances, overeating, irritability, poor appetite, thoughts of suicide are some of the symptoms or the effects of depression. They are not the depression itself. The depression is a malfunctioning in certain areas of the brain.
There are three basic molecules within the human brain, known chemically as monoamines, which are nothing more than transmitters which the brain uses to communicate with the nerve cells. If there is a breakdown, anywhere along the path between the brain and the nerve cells, the neurotransmitter supplies may not be adequate for the needs of the brain. If this happens, then the low levels lead to many symptoms, which we “call” depression. These neurotransmitters are chemically known as: norepinephrines, serotonins, and dopamines. Is this so different from not producing enough insulin, thyroxine or beta blocker?
Interestingly enough, people would rather ignore the physiological condition of depression when it is quite treatable with medication, just like many other physical ailments. Whether you are yourself suffering or someone you care about is suffering; please try to remember this: depression is not all in the mind, it is all in the brain.