For many Americans it is difficult to come to terms with any type of medical diagnosis. Some may know the warning signs and simply ignore them. Unfortunately mental disorders have plagued many people for years. Going without diagnosis and treatment can have devastating effects to themselves and their families. According to the National Institute of Mental Health “Approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder” (NIMH, 2009). These disorders come in several forms and can have many different warning signs. For some these signs or symptoms can be mild and for others the signs are immediately noticed.
“Mood disorders are characterized by disturbances in mood or prolonged emotional state sometimes referred to as affect.” (Psychological Disorders, 2010) Because everyone has their own mental capacity it can be difficult for a professional to diagnose. Some people can’t cry unless it is a highly emotional situation, others can cry at the first sign of emotional distress. While others may show anger in a stressful situation and some may feel the tendency to laugh. These are all nature human behaviors; each of these emotions can also be signs or symptoms of mood disorders. Because these signs and symptoms are so broad and are also specific to several different mood disorders they can be misdiagnosed for years.
The range of mood disorders can vary but there are significant signs and symptoms to look for. For some with mood disorders they have extreme highs and lows, meaning that they are extremely happy one minute and can be extremely sad the next. In patients with depression you may see that the “person feels overwhelmed with sadness; they may have loss of interest in activities and display other symptoms such as guilt or feelings of worthlessness.” (Psychological disorders, 2010) According to the National Institute for Mental Health “Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44” (NIMH, 2009) These patients usually have experienced the loss of happiness in everyday life. They may be your co-worker, family or friend who has issues with concentration, sleep, or has become reclusive.
Even though depression is a mood disorder in itself, there are several forms of depression. Generalized depression is the person who has become withdrawn from life; they may sleep too much or not enough. Another form of depression is clinical depression; this form is much more severe and can be deadly. Unfortunately “depressed people may be plagues by suicidal thoughts or may even attempt suicide.” (Psychological disorders, 2010) Apart of the signs and symptoms of clinical depression is that the down feel does not go away after time. Those with clinical depression stay depressed; they are unhappy and have moments of extreme depression. “Some depressions can be so intense that people become psychotic-that is, they lose touch with reality.” (Psychological disorders, 2010). This form can make people believe in a false reality. They often feel as though everyone is out to get them or that they are being subjected to inhuman activities.
Depression can be treated in many ways depending on the severity of the disease. There are many drugs out on the market today to help with the symptoms of depression. Generalized depression has become a popular trend in commercial marketing. The signs and symptoms are often discussed and the public is educated on talking to their physician if they may have any of the signs of symptoms that are listed in the commercials. Because of the frequency of these commercials more and more people have followed the trend and are speaking to their physicians about the possibility of depression. According to the CDC “approximately 15.7% more people were diagnosis with depression or related diagnosis in 2006 compared to 2005.” (CDC, 2006) Some studies may suggest that the increase in diagnosis is directly related to the public awareness brought forth by the commercial campaigns to promote new medication to treat depression.
The treatment for many forms of depression is through various forms of medication. These forms of medication are often referred to as antidepressants. The compounding for these drugs are typically neurotransmitters or inhibiters. Some help to produce or block particular chemicals in the brain that are possible causes for particular forms of depression. Counseling can also help those that are suffering the effects of depression. For some counseling may be prescribed with or without the assistance of medication. Speaking to a medical professional about the diagnosis of depression can help each patient to be individually treated for the symptoms of the depressive disorder. Even though the public has a higher level of awareness when it comes to depressive disorders it is still important to seek advice from a medical profession.
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