Depression Could be affecting You And Your Family?
Did you know that depression affected more than 19 million people and clinical depression ranks among the most serious health concerns in the United States. Sadly, many people suffering from the symptoms of depression are hindered by factors such as stigma and lack of information to never receiving an official diagnosis of the disorder, according to a recent survey by the National Mental Health Association (NMHA).
Data indicates that the percentage of people treated for depression tripled in the early 1990s with a more modest increase in the early 2000 era. Overall, about 8.7 million people in this country received treatment for depression in 2007 compared to about 6.5 million in 1997. This increase resulted from a growing U.S. population as well as from the modest increase in the percent of the population receiving treatment.
According to research three groups of people accounted for much of this increase: older Americans, African-Americans, and males. Ostensibly, this is good news given that African-Americans and men have been under-treated for depression in the past. In terms of older Americans, it is likely that the prescription drug coverage provided by Part D of Medicare has allowed a greater number of older persons to afford treatment. The costs of depression treatment paid by Medicare increased from $0.52 billion in 1997 to $2.25 billion in 2007. Over half of this increase was related to the cost of antidepressants.
Has America gone psychotic? You would certainly think so, based on the explosion in the use of anti psychotics medications. In 2008, with over $14 billion in sales, antipsychotics became the single top-selling therapeutic class of prescription drugs in the United States, surpassing drugs used to treat high cholesterol and acid reflux.
Once upon a time, anti psychotics were reserved for a relatively small number of patients with hard-core psychiatric diagnoses – primarily schizophrenia and bipolar disorder – to treat such symptoms as delusions, hallucinations, or formal thought disorder. Today, it seems, everyone is taking antipsychotics. Parents are told that their unruly kids are in fact bipolar, and in need of anti psychotics, while old people with dementia are dosed, in large numbers, with drugs once reserved largely for schizophrenic. Americans with symptoms ranging from chronic depression to anxiety to insomnia are now being prescribed anti psychotics at rates that seem to indicate a national mass psychosis.
Several psychotherapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), have been shown to be effective in treating depression. It is unfortunate that many therapists (psychologists and others) are not trained in these therapies and that primary care physicians are having a difficult time finding therapists able to treat patients with effective evidenced-based treatments. It is interesting to note that some therapists seek to obtain prescription drug privileges in spite of the fact that there is substantial need for these professionals to provide evidenced-based psychotherapies. Reimbursement for psychotherapies tends to be lower than reimbursement for briefer visits associated with medication management. Would increasing the reimbursement rates for psychotherapies lead non-physician mental health professionals to become more interested in providing these forms of treatment and less concerned about obtaining prescription privileges?
There are some steps you can take to help your feelings of depression and change your life significantly forever.
- As you work more and more with intentional affirmations — written, spoken, read, chanted, meditated upon — you will make them part of your lifestyle. Affirmations are already working for (or against) you. It is your job to select the ones you want to live by. Remember, you are already using affirmations every time you think or speak! If your current affirmations are disempowering, you can intentionally change them to ones that you choose to live by. Deliberately try to change the way you think. If you catch negative thoughts in your head, replace them with positive ones. Surround yourself with positive affirmations and quotes. Say them out loud. The power of speaking positive words cannot be overestimated.
- Have a tuna sandwich for lunch. A can of white tuna has about 800 milligrams of omega 3 fatty acids, and research says omega 3s can fight the hormones that leave you feeling depressed or low. Even the American Psychiatric association says they’re an effective part of depression treatment.
- Make sure you are getting plenty exercise. Studies show that moderate exercise every day for about 30 minutes is as effective as taking an antidepressant pill. It can be very difficult to start an exercise program when you are depressed. Which is why it is a good idea to take it literally, one step at a time by going for short walks and building up to longer ones? Your body will release endorphin’s instantly with exercise, so it’s one of the fastest ways to get over depression.
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