Educating Society About Depression and Mental Illness - Must Know Facts

Educating Society About Depression and Mental Illness - Must Know Facts

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Depression can be a fatal illness in the elderly.

Depression is a chronic disease with a very high likelihood of recurrence. Long term treatment may be necessary for your older parent. Efficacious treatments are available.

Major depression strikes about 1 in 12 adolescents. In any given 6-month period, about 5 percent of 9- to 17-year-olds are estimated to be suffering from major depression.

Six million elderly suffer from some form of depression. Their depression tends to be dismissed as inevitable, but in fact is a serious medical condition that can magnify disability and lead to premature death.

Clinical depression can often accompany long-term illnesses that are common in later life, such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Some medications can also trigger clinical depression. Depression is also a common consequence of alcohol problems among older adults.

The number of deaths from suicide each year is greater than the number of deaths from Homicide. Depression is not sadness. In depression, we lose the ability to feel any emotion strongly.The true opposite of depression is vitality the ability to feel a full range of emotions, including happiness, joy, pride, but also including sadness and grief.

Major depression is extreme and persistent and can interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to function, in contrast to the normal emotional experiences of sadness, grief, loss, or passing mood states.

Almost 20 percent of Americans have some form of depression, most without knowing it. They just assume that they can’t win, that their relationships are always trouble and that hopelessness, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and guilt are their lot in life.

In the elderly population, men are nearly six times more likely than women to commit suicide.

Men often deal with depression by withdrawing from others and throwing themselves into their work, engaging in risky or dangerous behavior, and/or becoming angry, frustrated and abusive.

Less severe forms of depression are also common among the elderly and can be as debilitating as Major Depressive Disorder.

Mild levels of depression can also impair functioning and coping with chronic illnesses and pain. Depression, however, is not a normal part of aging.
Research findings indicate that women with bipolar disorder may have more depressive episodes and more mixed episodes than do men with the illness.
As many as 80 percent of women experience the "postpartum blues," a brief period of mood symptoms that is considered normal following childbirth.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, up to one-third of the 3.4 million children and adolescents with depression in the United States may actually be experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder.
Mental illnesses strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable.

Depression can lead to poor school attendance and performance, running away, and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Some teens try to make the pain of depression go away by drinking or taking drugs, which only makes the depression worse. Still others contemplate suicide.

All too often, depression is left untreated because people fail to recognize the symptoms and believe that it is just normal sadness, a phase that a teen is going through, or a sign of weakness. This can be a terrible mistake. It is important to know the symptoms, so that you can distinguish depression from occasional normal sadness or moodiness.

By: Rachel Broune

Rachel Broune writes articles for depression. He also writes for anxiety and phobias.

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