Every person in the world today endures some kind of a hardship. Every misfortune is different; one person’s could take the form of divorce while another’s takes the form of a fatal illness. In either case, their trauma could lead to depression, which in the long run can be more problematic. Depression is one of the most prevalent problems in our modern society today.
To understand fully how and why depression affects people, a little background is needed. Depression is best defined as a psychiatric disorder in which a person’s emotional state is marked by sadness, inactivity and self-depreciation.Depending on the source, depression is not defined as an illness, however, most sources agrees that prolonged cases of depression can become a mental illness that affects everything one does. Oddly enough most people do suffer from depression and develop a mental illness from it, have a physical illness to keep it company. Not everyone who is depressed seeks help or treatment, therefor, it isn’t wholly possible to judge how widespread the condition is. Researchers believe that in the United States today, approximately 15 million people are severely depressed, while one in six people suffer from mild depression (1981, Berger, G.). These numbers merely represents the people who are brave enough to step forward and seek help. This shows, while depression is one most prevalent and one of the most expensive mental illnesses, costing the government in excess of $27 billion dollars a year in lost work time, it is also the most treatable of all mental illnesses. 80 percent of 15 million people seek professional help such as drug treatment, psychotherapy, and electroshock therapy, improve with in a few months to a year (1992, worsnap, R. L.). While hope exists for the people who suffer from severe depression, ultimately they must take the first step and seek help.
The largest group afflicted with depression is that of young adults. The teenage years are very stressful as individuals strive to carve themselves a niche that will help distinguish who they are as they try to achieve their life goals. Conforming to society molds takes a toll on today’s youth. If teens can’t show their emotions such as, grief, guilt, panic and anger it leads to depression. Everyone wants to fit in with the popular “clique” and unless they do, they feel somehow different. At an early age this difference can lead to depression as each child begins to think that he/she are too fat, not athletic enough, or just not intelligent. A test conducted with children having known cases of depression revealed that generally before the age of 10, boys are just as likely to be depressed as girls. As they reach their teenage years, the number of depressed girls begin to surge ahead of boys. Even though depression is high in young adults, only 14 percent of depressed children have episodes before the age of 15. This means that female young adults are three to four times more likely to become depressed in the everyday grind of life. Which is not surprising with all of the beauty magazines that float around our supermarkets and newsstands today. The teenage girl sees an image of a super model becomes disappointed in her own image as compared to the models. The truth of the matter is, she isn’t overweight and she most likely is an average to thin girl who lets one picture in a magazine make her think otherwise. She may act sluggish or slowly draw herself away from friends and family. Alteration in daily diet is another telltale sign of teenage depression.
Out of every 100,000 young adults 2,000 to 3,000 will test positive for severe depression. Of that number, 10 will commit suicide every year. More then 1 million, teenagers run away from home each year. They see this as an escape and hope that by finding a new home, they will leave the depression behind them. Unknowingly, they may send their parents or loved ones into a state of depression, while gaining nothing for themselves, often going from mediocre conditions to worse. Teenage depression can also be contributed to the parents. A study by Myrna M. Weissman at Columbia University concludes that a considerable portion of teenage depression stems from depressed adults that interact with teenagers. Not only did she find depression but also psychiatric problems. (1996, Brown, A.) When a parent is often depressed this may become a learned behavior for the young adult.
One problem that affects depression in males and females is consumption of alcohol over 1.3 million teenage turns to drinking as a solution for their depression. Many teens which turn to drinking feel helpless and hopeless. (1995, Kasschau, R. A.). While they are not only too young to accept the consequences that may pertain to their drinking, approximately 90 percent of the young adults who try to drink to eliminate their problems, including depression, become hooked for life. Drinking to get rid of depression, in no way will help, because acheohle is a depressant, which will cause their depression to become even greater.
Depression in adults is almost as widespread as depression in young adults. Similar to the earlier scenario, women are far more likely to be depressed than men. A time in which women may be depressed is during pregnancy. Depression can occur before and after the birth of a baby, wide ranges of emotions are possible. Often there are the expected feelings of excitement and joy, along with feelings of anxiety and worry. Mothers may also feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and frustrated. Caring for an infant is difficult work. During pregnancy there may include some unexpected “highs” and “lows”. At least one in ten new mothers experiences some form of postpartum depression. Postpartum often occurs within days of the delivery or appears gradually, sometimes up to a year or so later. Symptoms of this include: sluggishness, fatigue, exhaustion, sadness, hopelessness, appetite and sleep disturbances. Other examples are: over concern for the baby, uncontrollable crying, lack of interest in the baby, guilt, fear of harming the baby and lack of interest in sex. Women tend to also be depressed about their marriages, which at times, creates a feeling of unneeded “emotional work.” One study shows that women who do all or most of the housework are more likely to become depressed over the years. One source shows that some people feel depressed because of educational status. One-woman dropped out of college, and by doing this, she severely limited her options in the job market. Currently, working as a teacher’s aide, with this job room for promotion is not available, and her only other possibilities with a high school degree are dwindling as the job market becomes increasingly more competitive. The results of adult depression can be almost as costly as those of their teenage counterparts. While they are less prone to committing suicide, however, they have considerably more tools at their disposal to send their lives spinning.Their age allows them to purchase alcohol without sneaking around to find someone willing to buy it for them, as teenagers must do. With this as an option, adults drink until they forget about their troubles with depression and have only the drink to turn to. This maybe ok for the person until it slowly drags the rest of their family into their problems.
Another way in which adults deal with depression is overwork. To help forget about their depression they spend long days at the office or take on two or more jobs to occupy their time. The last major form of dealing with depression is gambling. With a steady income, adults find that the flashing lights and ringing bells combined with the prospect of winning money draw countless depressed adults to casinos around the nation.
Depression is a reality in the elderly. 65% of the elderly have some form of depression, and accounting for 25% of all suicides. (1996, Brown, A.) Elderly males have the highest rate of all age groups. Many aspects of an older person’s life may be found to be depressing. Elderly dont always show their depression in the same was as adolescents or even adults. Some symptoms for depression in old age are fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, or gain, memory loss and thoughts of suicide. Sleeping difficulties are often thought to have a connection with depression, when in actuality troubles sleeping is associated with the aging process or a medical condition rather than with depression. Contributing factors include the loss of a spouse or close friends, chronic pain and illness, difficulty with mobility, frustration with memory loss, difficulty adapting to changing circumstances such as moving from a home to a retirement facility, or changes within the family. Depression can also be a sign of a medical problem. When there is a loss of a spouse, researchers found that the living partner is most likely to feeling guilty for a number of reasons. It is common to feel guilty simply for being alive when someone else has died. Because relationships are never perfect, you were bound to have had some disagreements with your spouse or close friend. Feeling guilty for those arguments, or believe you should have been a “better” husband, wife or friend is normal in this stage. Guilt can easily change to a form of depression. When guilt from loosing a spouse turns into depression many times the depression that will be overcome when the guilt has disappeared or lessened. After the loss of a friend or spouse, the living person may become preoccupied with the person who died, and may think about the loved one constantly, re-create the circumstances of the death over and over in his/her mind, also having dreams or nightmares about the person. This can be a form of depression and is more likely to turn into a mental illness than to be easily over come. During the time of grieving for a lost loved one, it is not only a time of guilt, but also of stress. According to T. H. Holmes and R. H. Rahe’s Social Readjustment Rating Scale, death of a spouse causes more stress in a person’s life than any other event. (Psych book) Depression goes hand in hand with stress. 95 percent of those polled believe that stress is a major part of depression (my survey). During this time of loss, experts say, If you’re not depressed at this time it is thought that you then have issues with the deceased person or with death itself that need to be worked out.
The aging process impacts the neurological function of older adults. Other illnesses prevalent in the elderly may also impact the brain’s balance of chemicals that control mood. Parkinson’s, stroke, Alzheimer’s, thyroid dysfunction and brain tumors are some examples. When having one of these impairments depression is often inevitable. These factors may point out to the elderly that death is coming. When approaching death a person reacts in stages. The first is denial and isolation; the dying person will deny the whole thing and isolate themselves from the people who are telling them they are dying. Anger is the next stage. They will be mad at the world and the person or thing they thought did this to them. Third is bargaining. Often the dying person will bargain with God, saying, “I will do anything if you let me live.” The Forth and the longest lasting stage is depression. As death draws near the person recognizes that death can not be prevented, feelings of futility, exhaustion and deep depression may set in. This person realizes that he or she will be separated from friends, loved ones, and familiar routines of life, and this causes profound sadness. The fifth and finally stage, which often isn’t reached, is acceptance.
As people grow old, often times they can no longer take care of themselves for various reasons. Families often decide to put them in a nursing homes. Many times family do this because they don’t have the time, resources or skills to meet the needs of the elderly person. Changing one’s environment like this can cause great depression. The elderly are in a new place where almost everything is on an unfamiliar schedule causing them to feel their freedom has been lost. The seniors placed in the nursing homes feel they lose control of their lives, no longer doing anything on their own terms. The lack of control over their lives and the lack of familiar surroundings frequently cause severe depression.
Most people who are depressed do not seek psychiatric help. Family
physicians regularly check for signs of depression during any comprehensive physical examination. In elderly people, because of their spells with depression, drug interactions, and serious physical illnesses, it is especially important to get an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, one study reported that only 25% of family physicians accurately diagnose depression. Clinicians need better tools to diagnoses People may be unable to detect or admit to their own depression. In one study, although 21% of patients who visited their family physicians were depressed, only one percent described their problem as depression. (1998, Bower, B.).
Depression can be diagnosed by interpreting its symptoms. Experts say when four or more of the following symptoms last for
more the two weeks treatment should sought:
? Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood;
? Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities, including sex;
? Decreased energy or fatigue;
? Feeling of hopelessness, pessimism;
? Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts;
? Chronic aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment. (1992, Worsnop, R. L.)
Depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. The American Psychiatric Association reports that between 80 and 90 percent of all depressed people respond to treatment and nearly all depressed people who receive treatment experience at least some relief from their symptoms. historically treatment for depression included electroshock therapy, psychotherapy, and medications. In the 1930’s electroshock therapy was a preferred method of treatment. This approach became less popular because it was thought to be to extreme. The first drug found to help depression was lithium. In 1949 Australian psychiatrist John Cade, found that a naturally occurring chemical element, lithium, was an effective treatment for depression. In 1956, American psychiatrist Nathan Kline discovered a drug being used in the treatment of tuberculosis, iproniazid, could boost the mood of depressed patients. In 1972 yet another drug was found to help depression. Fluoxetine, the generic name for the antidepressant Prozac. Scientist at Eli Lilly and Co discovered it. Today, the treatment most commonly used is medication coupled with psychotherapy. The effectiveness of drugs for the treatment of depression depends on general health, weight, metabolism, and other characteristics unique to that patient. The psychotherapy is added to help the patient after the drug is taken. During a session with a therapist, the patient will talk about how the medication it effecting them also their general feelings toward life (1992, Worsnop, R. L.).
In Conclusion, depression is a very widespread problem that affects most of the population. Depression is something everyone has at some point in their lives, weather it lasts for a day or a lifetime. It effects all people in different ways. Treatments to help people with depression inculed Electroshock therapy, medication, and therapy. After some people get treatment they may never get depression again but many will.
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