At any given time, 19 million Americans are suffering from a form of depression. Not only does this affect their lives, but the lives of those around them.
Since depressive disorders are also are a major cause of lost productivity in the workplace, there is an economic impact on all of us as well as a personal one.
Depression is also one of the few potentially fatal illnesses that is treatable. It’s impossible to know how many suicides could be prevented by proper diagnosis and treatment, but the tragedy is that there are certainly many that could be prevented, but aren’t.
Depression is under-diagnosed and under-treated. There are several factors at work here. One is the failure of many general practitioners to recognize depression in a patient.
Another factor is the lack of understanding most people have about the symptoms of the illness, which prevents them from seeing depression symptoms for what they are. Also, the general inertia created by being depressed is itself a barrier to taking action.
If you think you have depression, or know someone who does, it is important that you know as much as possible about the different kinds of depression to determine whether the doctor is diagnosing and treating it properly. You are, in essence, your own second opinion.
Next: Diagnosing Depression