A stitch in time saves nine: Importance of early detection of depression

A stitch in time saves nine: Importance of early detection of depression

Experiencing sadness or grief is a normal part of a person’s life. It is something every individual experiences during the tough times; however, it usually passes away like any other experiences and life eventually gets back to normal. Going through such overwhelming feelings during the time of bereavement is known to have a healing effect on the person in the long run.

However, a large number of studies have also highlighted that extreme stress and grief can prove to be a deadly combination that can trigger a number of psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, etc. Such a situation arises due to the confusion over the difference between grief and major depression because of the similarity in their symptoms.

To distinguish the two, it is essential to know the difference between both the disorders in terms of symptoms. On the one hand, a major depressive disorder (MDD) lasts for more than two months, where the feeling of guilt, worthlessness and other delusions are present and suicidal tendency is a common characteristic that leads to functional impairment. Grief or bereavement, on the other hand, does not last that long and the delusions are absent. Unlike major depression, grief is a passing phase and therefore does not lead to functional impairment.

Based on the above facts and other eye-opening statistics available, one can rightly say that depression (MDD or clinical depression) is a serious mood disorder and one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. In 2015, an estimated 6.7 percent of the entire American adults, representing 16.1 million people aged 18 and above, had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

Early detection antidote for depression

Depression by itself does not kill a person, but it does increase the risk of suicide, heart diseases, stroke, drug/alcohol abuse, many other diseases and death. Besides affecting one’s mental health, depression also immensely impacts his or her physical health, quality of life, daily functioning and relationships.

Some of the physical effects include erratic sleep habits, changes in appetite and weight, constant fatigue, muscle aches, headaches and back pain. Therefore, mental illness must be detected early to avoid the above-mentioned repercussions. Compared to other mental disorders, depression is significantly underdiagnosed and undertreated. The denial of illness and fear of social stigma are the two primary barriers to proper identification and treatment of depression.

Effective diagnosis and treatment can be literally life-saving for many. Besides, it can reduce the emotional and financial burden of the disease. According to an old study, the economic burden of the disease is significant, with direct medical costs estimated at $3.5 million per 1,000 plan members with depression.

Detecting depression in elderly

Due to the similarity in the characteristics of aging and depression, depression in older adults often goes unreported or undetected. This is despite the fact that evidence suggests a large number of older adults who commit suicide have seen a health care professional within one month of death.

The above astonishing fact underscores the need for health care providers to become more adept at identifying the warning signs of depression in older adults. Since depression signs and symptoms often differ from those in younger people, it is essential to be aware of some of them mentioned below:

  • Sadness, hopelessness or discouragement
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep disturbances (commonly insomnia)
  • Psychomotor changes, such as agitation or slowing down
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Poor concentration or decision-making
  • Sense of worthlessness or guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

Don’t ignore depression as a usual problem

Depression profoundly impacts all facets of one’s life. It can cause pain and to both the sufferer and the caregiver. People suffering from depression tend to have multiple comorbidities that compound the negative effects and increase the cost. However, depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw.

If you or your loved one is battling depression, contact the Texas Depression Treatment Helpline to get information about some of the best depression treatment centers in Texas. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282 or chat online to access more information about the depression disorders clinic in Texas.