For a variety of reasons, the majority of individuals who live with major depressive disorder do not seek help. One reason is that these individuals may not be aware of available treatment options. Another reason is that people may not have access to treatment in their area. Additionally, a third reason is that these individuals may have limited or no support from friends and family. Finally, a fourth reason that people do not seek help for major depressive disorder is that they are unaware that their symptoms may indicate more than passing sadness.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2016 showed that approximately 16.2 million adults in the U.S. deal with major depressive disorder. That number makes up around 6.7% of all U.S. adults.
However, only about 44% of adults with major depressive disorder receive treatment by visiting a healthcare professional or taking prescription medication. About 7% of U.S. adults with major depressive disorder receive medication-only treatments. An estimated 37% of U.S. adults with major depressive disorder do not receive the right amount of support and treatment they needed to improve their conditions.
What is Major Depressive Disorder?
Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders affecting adults in the United States. For some people, the disorder can interfere with their everyday lives and impact their abilities to carry out basic activities. One sign of major depressive disorder is when a person experiences a loss of interest in something they once enjoyed for a period of two weeks or longer. A person with major depressive disorder remains depressed for an extended period and has at least four of the following symptoms:
- Sleep problems
- Loss of appetite or other eating issues
- Lack of energy
- Loss of concentration
- Problems with self-image or confidence
- Ongoing thoughts of death or suicide
While having only one or two of these symptoms may not be a cause for alarm, if you or someone you know suffers from four or more of these symptoms, you should consider seeking help from a mental health professional.
The Different Types of Depression
Many people are unaware that there is more than one type of depression. Types of depression can fall into two different categories: dysthymia and major depressive disorder. Because there are so many forms of depression, a depressed individual should speak with a health professional to better understand his symptoms. The health professional can help select an appropriate treatment. Below are a few details on some of the different types of depression.
Bipolar I and II Disorders
Bipolar disorders can cause individuals to suffer from mood swings, which range from hypomania or mania to major depression. Trained health professionals can sometimes struggle to tell the difference between bipolar disorders and major depressive disorder since most people do not visit their doctors when they experience hypomanic moods. An affected individual often only seeks treatment when he experiences a depressed mood.
Cyclothymic disorder is very similar to bipolar I and II disorders, but it involves much milder high and low moods.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder is a type of depression that occurs long-term and is often less severe than other types of depression. However, this mild type of depression may become chronic if a person does not receive treatment.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Hormonal changes that occur in a female between three to seven days before her menstrual period can cause premenstrual dysphoric disorder. After her period has passed, symptoms of depression usually go away. It is essential to keep in mind that prescription medication, underlying medical conditions, and recreational drugs can also cause feelings of depression.
Five Warning Signs of Depression Everyone Should Know About
If you believe that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, there are a few signs that can help validate your concerns. Below, we detail five warning signs of depression.
1. Unexplained Pain
Depression does not only affect a person’s mental health. It can also have a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being. For example, common warning signs of depression are the physical symptoms of unexplained aches and pains. A recent study on symptoms of depression shows that 69% of people who meet the criteria for a depression diagnosis first visit their doctors for unexplained aches and pains. The most common complaints include joint pain, bloating, and backaches.
2. Inability to Concentrate
Almost everyone experiences some brain fog and forgetfulness. However, people who live with depression often experience an extreme lack of focus. The lack of focus is often so bad that the person becomes unable to perform their everyday duties at work and home. There may be periods when the person makes more mistakes than usual or has trouble making decisions.
3. Too Much or Too Little Sleep
Another warning sign of depression is not getting enough sleep or getting too much sleep. It is important to note that sleep disorders, such as insomnia, do not cause depression. However, sleep disorders can play a significant role in mood fluctuations and instability.
4. Changes in Appetite
Depression can have a significant impact on a person’s appetite. For some people, depression can cause them to eat more, while for other people, depression may cause a significant decrease in their appetites. Regardless of how depression affects a person’s appetite, a change in appetite is a symptom that can have a negative impact on a person’s physical well-being. Even if someone manages to lose weight during a period of depression, this occurrence is not a healthy form of weight loss. Note that some people may experience an increase in appetite and weight gain as a result of depression.
5. Moodiness and Irritability
Just because someone has a snappy attitude does not mean that they are depressed. However, heightened or unexplained irritability is another sign of possible depression. If little things set off a person or the person gets agitated more often than usual, the person may suffer from depression.
A person’s moodiness and irritability can lead to thoughts of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, or the desire to cause harm to another person. If a person experiences any of those feelings, they should get immediate help from a health professional. If a person is in immediate danger, one should always call 911.
Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital Helps Those Living with Depression
At Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we specialize in treating depression and other mood disorders. We offer inpatient treatment programs and intensive outpatient treatment programs, too. To get started at our facility, please call us at (877) 755-4907 to speak with one of our intake specialists.