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What You Should To Know About Depression

Updated on November 6, 2013

Alarming Statistics

While other illnesses like Heart Diseases, Cancer, and Diabetes get much of the attention in America, and rightfully so. There is a more silent and often unrecognized problem that may be affecting someone you know - Depression.

  1. For those over 65 years of age with depression, only 10 percent of them are treated. (Source: AARP)
  2. Suicide Rates for older, depressed adults are much about seven times higher than other age groups.
  3. Many of the suicide cases have to do with a depressive disorder
  4. Women experience depression twice as often as men
  5. By 2020, depression will be the second most common health problem around the world. (Source: PBS)

The Good News

Although depression is becoming more and more common, the good news is that it is still one of the more treatable illnesses according to PBS. Those who seek treatments, nearly 9 out of 10 cases find relief.

Even more good news. Under the new Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), free depression screening is one of the free services that are offered. So there should be no excuse in not getting your free diagnosis. The aforementioned stat of only 10 percent of older adults are treated for depression needs to be much higher because of the free diagnosis services offered.

How often do you hold a discussion with your loved ones about depression and anxiety?

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How To Approach And Talk To Someone With Depression

One of the most important thing anyone can receive is support, especially in challenges such as depression and anxiety. Sometimes a few meaningful words can really lift up someone's spirit and guide them toward the right directions.

For example, loved ones need to show that they are there for the depressed individual. An effective way to share this is tell them that they are not alone, and your support is there at all times.

Staying positive is one of the main goal when opening up a discussion with someone with depression. Let them know that they are important to you, offer to help, and make sure they know that there is always hope.

If they know and feel the unconditional love that you are offering to them, then they will understand that you truly care about them, and won't feel like their depression will drive you further away.

Don't forget

  • Most depression cases that are treated find relief
  • There are free diagnosis available
  • Be there for someone who is going through depression

Antidepressants Are Not A Sure Bet

There can be an over reliance on medications at times, and many people also have the belief that medications can cure all. In fact, according to psychologist Stephen Ilardi, "Depressed patients who take medication and do nothing else are not very likely to have a full, lasting recovery".

On top of that, older adults has a higher risk of side effects from antidepressants. From loss in bone density to dangerous interactions to other medications, these risks can be potentially deadly.

Ted Talk on Depression

Not Just A Mental Illness

Despite the fact that depression is more of a mental and brain disorder, it can still affect your body. For people with depression, two in three may experience an increased aches and pains according to WebMD. In addition, depressed patients may have trouble sleeping, which can eventually lead to the development of insomnia.

The increase in stress hormones due to depression is also one reason why the individual is more prone to physical illness as well. It can lower your immune system, decreasing your ability to fight infections, and studies have linked depression to increased risk of heart disease and substance abuse as well.

Live A Better Life!

Although depression can lead to unimaginable suffering, it is still a very highly treatable disease as mentioned. Since 90% of depression in older adults are untreated, we first need to lower this number.

Once diagnosed, there is a wide variety of treatment options available for different patients. Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can help lift the mood of depressed patients and improve their ability to cope.

More severe depression cases might need electric shock treatment if medications do not work. While for others, doctors might recommend cognitive behavioral therapy.

No matter the severity, there is always hope and a treatment option that can help you cope with your depression. If you fee like you might be depressed, don't wait until it is too late, get a free diagnosis, open up a discussion with your support group, and being to live a better life!


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    • The Stages Of ME profile image

      The Stages Of ME 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this. Having just brought my 81 year old father in law home from a Doc appointment where they told him his heart was good, and seeing a sadness in his eyes. He lost his love of fifty years one year ago and his will is quite low. Battling age and parkinsons and weeakness and broken heart, well it breaks mine to see him. It also exhausts me as I am ill and keeping someone going when you are working at it yourself it draining. "Remaining in the joy of the moments is the way to the next day. ", I told him. WIsh this sadness was not so constant in the older population but it is sadly a fact of the circle of life. Blessing to you