Category Archives: depression

India named world’s most depressed nation

A WHO research has revealed that people living in wealthier nations are more depressed than those in relatively poorer ones.

According to research, India was recorded to be the nation with the highest rate of depression in the world at 36%, making it an exception to the rule. The booming democracy is going through an unprecedented socio-economic change, which often becomes the reason for depression.

In France, the Netherlands, and America, more than 30% of people suffered from a “major depressive mode” which was far higher than China’s figure of 12%. People in wealthier countries were also more likely to be disabled by depression.

The WHO found that  one in seven people in rich countries are likely to get depression over their lifetime, which is equivalent to 15%. One in nine people  (11%) in middle and low income countries are likely to experience depression within their lifetime.

France is more depressed than Mexico

 Following India, France and the United States had the highest rates of reported depression. 21% of people in France and 19.2% of people in the U.S. reported having an extended period of depression within their lifetime. The lowest rates of depression included China (6.5%) and Mexico (8%).

An average of 15% of people in wealthy countries reported having an episode, compared to 11% of people in low income countries.

The higher percentage of depression reported by people in wealthier countries may reflect differences in societal expectations for a good life.

“There are a lot of people in the U.S. who say they aren’t satisfied with their lives. U.S. expectations know no bounds and people in other countries are just happy to have a meal on the table,” said study co-author Ronald Kessler, a professor of health care policy at Harvard.

Depression is the third largest contributor to lowered productivity in the workplace, according to Kessler.

Researchers took into account both clinical depression and types of mild depression. Clinical depression is  a biological condition which leads to low self-esteem and loss of interest in otherwise enjoyable activities. Types of mild depression can be situational or caused by environmental influences. The latter was likely the cause of higher rates in the U.S. and France, Kessler said.

“There’s no change in biological depression, but what’s going up is the more mild depression,” Kessler said. “Objective things haven’t changed. We have an expectation that everything’s going to turn out perfect but it doesn’t.”

Scientists from twenty different institutions worldwide worked with the WHO’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative, obtaining data by interviewing 89,037 people in 18 different countries from 2000 to 2005. Trained interviewers spoke with respondents in person or over the phone about traumatic events in that person’s life, substance abuse, relationships, happiness, and other factors that could influence mental health.

The report also found that women were twice as likely to experience depression, and the strongest link to depression was separation or divorce from a partner.

It is unclear what exactly accounts for the pattern but the richest countries in the world tend to have the highest levels of income inequality, which has been linked to higher rates of depression.

The authors also explained that poorer people may be less likely to recall or relate episodes of depression from their past. Comparing depression rates among different countries is challenging because survey particpants may be influenced by cultural norms (never speaking about depression) or their interactions with the interviewer.

“There are significant disparities across countries in terms of the availability and social acceptance of mental health care for depression,” says Timothy Classen, economic professor at Loyola University.  He noted that there tends to be more stigma surrounding depression in a country like Japan than in the U.S. Classen says this may explain why Japan has a higher suicide rate, even though its depression rates in the study were three to four times lower than those in the U.S.

Different age groups appeared to fare better than others depending on a country’s level of affluence. For instance, older adults in high-income countries generally had lower rates of depression than their younger counterparts, while the trend was reversed in several poorer countries.

In a country like the Ukraine, “older people have enormous pressure on them and they don’t have enough money to live and take care of grandchildren and health problems. Their lives are extremely difficult relative to older people in this country,” explained Evelyn Bromet, lead author of the study.

Hopefully the study findings will help countries identify their own high-risk populations, whether it’s older adults in Ukraine or young divorced women in Japan.

“I hope people in these countries will start thinking about social and medical support for these groups in particular, and what they can do to prevent depression in the future,” Bromet said.

Divorce & Teenagers

Divorce leads to a complex and complicated family dynamic. Parents debate whether or not to medicate their adolescent child when he or she starts to show symptoms during a divorce. 

The teenage brain won’t reach maturity until age 25, so figuring out all the symptoms during the divorce can be tricky. Your adolescent may be moody or try to test limits but during a divorce there are added pressures he has to deal with.  He may be worrying about the future or parents may be battling, all occuring while he is upset over the splitting of his family.

How do you differentiate between an upset teen and a teen that may need treatment or medication?

First, does your child’s behavior precede the divorce? Some kids are naturally anxious or inattentive. If the child is already in treatment, stressors such as a divorce can worsen the already existing problem. Your child may benefit from counseling, where they can express concerns and learn coping tools. It’s possible that you and your ex are contributing to the child’s symptoms, so the therapist may help you contain your differences to situation when the child is not present. This could help lighten up symptoms in your child.

You should take concern if your child stays in bed a lot, or goes for a long period without showering or changing clothes. Can she not fall asleep or finish homework due to excess anxiety? In these types of situations, you could be facing something bigger than teenage hormones. It is also beneficial to inquire about the mental health history of your and the ex’s family, as mood and anxiety disorders can be genetic.

Psychological problems are also defined by how the problem impacts basic functioning. If you notice that your son is acting depressed, but he’s far from suicidal; he does well in school, he has good friends and an active social life, and he generally gives off an attitude of contentment, you are most likely dealing with normal teenage angst. If, on the other hand, your son protests constantly that he’s “fine”, but you clearly witness that he’s having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, his friends are no longer calling, and he’s lost interest in what used to give him pleasure, this may be an actual depression.

If one or both partners didn’t get clobbered by the experience of divorce, any children involved often feel deep emotional sadness and loss. Sometimes this sadness can impact people for years or even decades.
Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological problems and other mental illnesses. 

If you are concerned about the effect your divorce is having on your child or teenager, starting treatment for them at Apex is the best solution.

I Think I’m Depressed – What Now?

Many people have a hard time accepting that they may be depressed. They feel some level of shame or embarrassment, which is unfounded considering that depression is a disease. If you had cancer, wouldn’t you go to a doctor?

Depression hits people of all ages and races. Currently, there are an estimated 15 million people in the US suffering from depression. Realistically, that number is probably higher than what’s reported. Regardless, 2/3 people don’t get any sort of treatment for depression, which is a waste because depression is a treatable illness.

Nobody knows what causes depression. You may be able to identify a trigger, or a stressful event like divorce or death of a loved one as causing your depression, but it may have existed prior.  There is no one reason why depression sets in; however, stress, hormones, and genetics can increase the risk. 

The longer depression lasts, the worse your symptoms may get and the harder it will be to treat.

Without treating depression, people can struggle for months or years feeling absolutely miserable. If you do decide to seek treatment, there are a lot of effective and proven ways to treat depression. Doctors will try psychotherapy or antidepressant medication. Studies have found that combined treatment of therapy and medication works better than medication on its own.

Lifestyle changes can help depression, which is something you and your therapist can talk over. Managing stress, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising have all been shown to help. The important thing is that there are many options out there.

Some people are appropriately apprehensive when it comes to taking medication. Common worries include if the drugs will change one’s personality, or concerns regarding the side effects. The doctor will inform you about potential side effects. Regarding altering your personality, depression has already put you in a fog and the medication may help you return to your original self.

For those that are interested, antidepressants work by making the nerve cells form stronger and healthier connections to specific parts of the brain. The most common antidepressants are called SSRIs. These types of drugs can take weeks or months to be effective.

Therapy has been shown to have more lasting benefits than medication. Talking to a stranger about the problems bothering you may make you feel uncomfortable. It’s important to remember that therapists are a skilled professional and they will not judge you. Everything is confidential!

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you see how your own thought patterns can contribute to your depression and it teaches practical ways to change them.

Many people seek a holistic approach to treat depression. There’s the view that if it comes from the Earth, it is natural, and therefore less harmful. However, natural supplements have side effects as well. You should talk to a doctor or do extensive research before taking them. The evidence is unclear if natural herbs actually work or not. Supplements like fish oil and folic acid may have some benefits, but other supplements really don’t do anything.

So how does one start treatment? You can get a referral from your family doctor or call the 1-800 number on the back of your insurance card and they will find you a mental health provider. The American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association also have online locators. Some family doctors prescribe antidepressants but finding a psychiatrist (someone who specializes in mental disorders as opposed to general medicine) will be more beneficial for treatment.

Physical symptoms of depression can include: headaches, back pain, muscle aches, joint pain, chest pain, digestive problems, exhaustion & fatigue, sleeping problems, change in appetite or weight, dizziness or lightheadedness.

Benefits of treating depression include: better sleep, better libido, pain or discomfort relief, improved health, better work performance, better memory, happier home life, healthier lifestyle, increased sense of control, decreased future depression, and stronger ties with family.

Some people avoid getting treatment for the following reasons:

  • “I’ll snap out of it if I give it time.”  You can’t snap out of being depressed. Having the blues may pass, but clinical depression will linger and get worse if it is not treated.
  • “‘I don’t want to take antidepressants.” Psychotherapy is always an option. Cognitive behavioral therapy deals with your thoughts and feelings now; it works to improve your thought pattern and your quality of life.
  • “I don’t feel sad all the time. Why do I need treatment?” Sometimes, people with depression see their clinical physician for ailments like muscle pain or sleeping problems, not knowing that they are symptoms of depression. You don’t need to be crying all the time to be depressed.
  • “I’m embarrassed to talk to my doctor about it.”  Depression is not something to be ashamed of, it is a common medical condition. Your doctor has already treated patients just like you.

You can always voice your concerns to your therapist or doctor and they will work with you to make you feel more comfortable. Apex Behavioral Health is always available to help treat your depression. Make an appointment and help yourself!