March 23, 2016

Depression Facts

senior citizensHere are a few important facts about depression that you may not know:

  • One in five people suffer from depression at some time of their lives.
  • Women suffer from depression twice as much as men.
  • One in four women will experience depression at least once in their lifetime.
  • 60-80% of depressed people can be treated with success.
  • For every two murders in America, there are three suicides
  • Since 1945 cases of depression have increased ten times.
  • Up to 80% of suicides happen as a direct result of depression
  • About 50 million people in the United States are depressed.
  • Depression is the number one global mental health disorder, and it is unfortunately growing at a fast rate.
  • Compared to 1945, depression affects ten times as many people and from all ages and backgrounds.
  • In some groups where people are not left to suffer alone and there is a lot of support in the community, such as among the Amish, depression is virtually non-existent.
  • Depressed patients can suffer from physical symptoms such as stomach and indigestion problems, headaches, breathing problems and tension. These can all be linked to stress.
  • In some cases it may not be obvious that a person is depressed, and on the outside they may seem to be OK. The real problems are internal and in the mind. If a person is good at hiding their feelings then it can become worse very quickly because they are less likely to get help from others.
  • The best form of treatment is a combination of therapy, (allowing the patient to talk about his or her feelings and thoughts), and medication in the form of antidepressants. Medication is not an answer in itself but allows a patient to calm down enough to address the real causes behind the negative feelings.
  • Only about a third of those suffering from anxiety related problems such as depression seek any treatment. This means that approximately 65% do not get any help or treatment for their condition and continue on with their lives regardless. This is a very worrying statistic.
  • It has been estimated that in the world there are about 350 million people suffering from some form of depression.
  • Antidepressants are successful in treating patients in about 50% of cases whereas a placebo is 40% successful.
  • Depressed individuals may have three of four times more dreams at night than normal.
  • Ageing can be increased by depression. Check out the source
  • Comedians and those who make us laugh seem to be more depressed according to research
  • The world’s most depressed country, according to the use of antidepressants, is Iceland. But France is also a contender because it is reported that 20% have been depressed before.
  • Depressed people get colds much more frequently than those who are not suffering.
  • Heart attacks affect people who are chronically depressed much more than those who are not.
  • If you do not respond to antidepressants there is a new treatment based on magnetic pulses and this treatment can last for about 6 weeks.
  • Very small children may get depressed, but often the symptoms are not diagnosed properly and they are thought to be suffering from other problems. It is believed that approximately 1 in 30 youngsters may be depressed. The symptoms for young children include wanting to avoid going to school and lack of social interaction with other children.
  • One of the cheapest and best cures for depression is exercise.

Why has depression increased so much?

Depression is increasing. This could be due to modern society and changes in our lifestyle. But exactly why is it so much higher now than say 50 years ago? There are a number of possible reasons. here are some of them:

  • Increase in the amount of TV that people watch each day.
  • Increased use of computers and the internet.
  • More global media and news in our lives with constant focus on bad news.
  • Technology and it’s connection with social interaction.
  • More people work in jobs where they sit for most of the day.

The conclusion from all of the above is that we may have become less fit, get less exercise and socialise less than ever before. Negative influences from TV and the News Media may also make us more aware of dangers, threats and wars that seem to appear endlessly on our screens.

Modern life may be filled with more choices, more entertainment and our lives may be busier as a result. Technology has also made us “busier” mentally. The result may be that we suffer from more stress now, at least this is what we believe. It’s funny, life should have become easier, which it has in some ways, but at the same time it has become more intense and competitive. As we are more connected through our smartphones we cannot escape work as easily as in the past creating more stress. The important thing to remember is that stress is in the mind and not real, it is an emotional response and depression feeds off your emotions. You can use this knowledge to beat it.

Educating people about depression and encouraging them to seek help will reduce suicide and lessen the effects of depression. It no longer carries the stigma that it used to. Still we need to understand that it is a real illness that disables people.

Only a small percentage of cases are due to a chemical imbalance. It is much more complex than some would have us believe. In fact, this idea of a chemical imbalance doesn’t really agree with the research which shows that there are many triggers for depression including stress, anxiety, life events, alcohol and substance abuse among others. Only a very small number of cases may be attributed to a chemical imbalance but this also may be caused by certain lifestyles and reactions to challenges in life. read more about the brain and depression here.

Support helps enormously. Family and friends are among the most important sources of help for any depressed person. The very fact of feeling loved and supported can bring much comfort and ease the pain and suffering.

Goal-setting encourages hope. The problem is that depression drains a person’s energy, desire and interest. Planning is something that demands both energy and motivation which may be lacking in a depressed person.

Self Esteem is a big issue, work on this and you protect yourself from the hits you take in life. If you feel better about yourself and more confident in what you can achieve then you can avoid the effects of negative thinking and even when events in your life challenge you, you will be able to overcome them.

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