Everyone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but few people know that it's also Depression Awareness Month. Just because it's not cancer doesn't mean that depression isn't serious. Here are some statistics on depression from Uplift Program:
- Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
- Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression -- their own or someone else's, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.)
- Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers -- over a million -- are clinically depressed.
- The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23% p.a.
- 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
- 30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.
- 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
- 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
- 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.
- 92% of depressed African-American males do not seek treatment.
- 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
- Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 -- and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.
- Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than US$51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills.
- Antidepressants work for 35 to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest as low as 30%.
- Standard antipressants, SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil (Aropax) and Zoloft, have recently been revealed to have serious risks, and are linked to suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors.
- Government (FDA) warnings highlight concerns over the efficacy and use of antidepressants in children. Antidepressants with the exception of Prozac have been banned in Britain for children. The BMJ recently reported they found no scientific evidence whatsoever that SSRIs work for preschoolers (or for anyone under eighteen).
- Antidepressants (particularly SSRIs) work only as well (or less) than placebos.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has an 80% relapse rate in the long term.
- Physiological problems, plus learned beliefs and behaviors, make functional decisions difficult, and the results reinforce the depression in a vicious cycle.
- Depression can “somatize,” or become expressed in the body.
- 80% of people who see physicians are depressed.
- Studies are increasingly linking more illnesses to depression, including: osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, eye disease and back pain.
Some of the symptoms of depression in adults are:
- Persistent sad or "empty" mood.
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic and/or guilty.
- Substance abuse.
- Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex.
- Disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns.
- Irritability, increased crying, anxiety or panic attacks.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
- Thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or attempts.
- Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.
Depression is something that I suffer from and most people don't understand it at all. It makes everything in my life difficult, even very simple things. Maybe if there was more awareness about depression, more people would understand.
The color for depression awareness just happens to be my favorite polish color: Green.
You can find more information and resources for depression at the National Institute of Mental Health.