Mental illness includes a lot of different possible problems. We talked about schizophrenia in a HealthWise segment earlier this week, but perhaps the mental illness that is most common is depression. May is National Mental Health Awareness month.
If you are feeling depressed, well you're not alone. About one in four adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, such as depression, each year. For most, it will be short-lived. However, nearly 7% will have a major depressive disorder, the leading cause of disability in adults ages 15 to 44. It can strike any age, any race, and either sex. It's more prevalent in women than men. Mood variations are normal, but those who suffer from major depression are overpowered by it.
Symptoms include a pervasive sense of sadness, emptiness, anxiety, or worthlessness. This is compounded by guilt over why they feel bad when life should be good. Physical symptoms include fatigue, diminished sex drive, and insomnia.
Dr. Terry McMahon said, "Treatment for depression varies depending on its severity, and it can include medications, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy. Treatment works, but it will take time. Therapy is tailored to the individual, the severity of the depression, and its impact on one's ability to function.
If you have symptoms of major depression, visit your doctor to help get yourself back to a healthier mental state. MHMR has a screening office downtown. Health professionals there offer free screenings for depression at that office at 9th and Avenue O. You don't even need to make an appointment.
If you're concerned that you may be suffering from depression, they can screen you. Then they will refer you to the right people if you need help.
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