If you are depressed, you are definitely feeling more than blue. Depression can affect everyone—men, women, children, the young, and the old—and it can affect every aspect of your life—from work to your physical health to your intimate relationships. In fact, depression affects approximately 19 million Americans, with twice as many women affected as men, according to the website All About Depression.
There are also various types of depression, which include bipolar depression—previously known as maniac depression—mild forms of depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), major depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or dysthymia, which is a chronic mood disorder and sometimes starts in childhood. Research indicates depression may be caused by brain chemical imbalances, genetic factors, illness, medications, personality traits, or stress.
Symptoms of depression often include:
- Appetite changes
- Fatigue or decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
- Inability to concentrate
- Irritability, anxiousness, anger
- Lingering and ongoing feelings of sadness or anxiety
- Loss of interest in ordinary activities
- Restlessness, inability to sleep, or sleeping too much
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Unexplained aches
- Weight loss or weight gain
According to All About Depression, if untreated, depression can sometimes lead to suicide, and, currently, over 30,000 Americans commit suicide a year. All About Depression also estimates that before a person succeeds at suicide, they have attempted it 8 to 25 times. Moreover, although women report suicide attempts twice as often as men, four times as many men actually succeed at it, and, white men over 85 years old have the highest suicide rate.
To recognize and treat mental health disorders, the Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) began to conduct free screenings in 1991. This year’s National Depression Screening Day is set for Friday, October 10, 2008, and, during the month of October, free screenings for mental health are being conducted every day.
For More Information
Mental Health America also offers free depression screenings during the month of October. Approximately 1,500 hospitals participate in screenings. For more information visit http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/ and
- Click here to find a free location to complete a confidential depression screening test near you.
- Click here to take a free confidential depression screening test online. After arriving at this page, go to the bottom of the page where it says “Click here to take the confidential depression-screening test.”
- Click here for self-tests on depression, mania, anxiety, or stress.
- Click here for an anonymous self-assessment for military members.
- To read and learn more about depression, I recommend:
- Visit the Mental Health Screening site to learn who is affected by depression, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.
- Visit All About Depression to learn more about depression in general.
- Read Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression by Dr. James S. Gordon, which was released in June, 2008. Gordon is a Harvard educated psychiatrist and has been helping depressed patients for forty years. He is also a pioneer in integrative medicine and claims “depression is not an end point, a disease over which we have no control.” Learn his seven stages to relieve depress and how alternative medicine can help patients heal.
- Reading The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness,by Mark G. Williams, John D. Teasdale, Zindel V. Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. This book draws on the collective experience and education of the four well regarded and internationally-known authors. This “authoritative, easy-to-use self-help program is based on methods clinically proven to reduce the recurrence of chronic unhappiness … [and restore people to] balance and contentment.”