Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a woman has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life and normal functioning, and causes pain for both the woman with the disorder and those who care about her. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most who have it need treatment to get better. Depression affects both men and women, but more women than men are likely to be diagnosed with depression in any given year.1 Efforts to explain this difference are ongoing, as researchers explore certain factors (biological, social, etc.) that are unique to women. Many women with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment.
According to the US National Institute of Mental Health, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs and among some groups like women in their 40 and 50s it is one in four.
The campaign, founded in 1991 by Douglas Jacobs, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, urges Americans to get screened for depression, offered free of charge at doctors offices, colleges, community institutions, and hospitals across the nation.
The Problem with Mental Health Screening Tests
Mental health screening tests could serve to improve the mental health of millions, if vitamin D screening, diet, and other lifestyle factors were addressed. But all in all, mental health screenings typically do little besides promote the use of antidepressants.
For example, the free online depression screening test offered by WebMD back in 2010 turned out to be sponsored by drug giant Eli Lilly, the maker of …
Depression often coexists with other illnesses that may precede the depression, follow it, cause it, be a consequence of it, or a combination of these. It is likely that the interplay between depression and other illnesses differs for every person and situation. Regardless, these other coexisting illnesses need to be diagnosed and treated.
Depression often coexists with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and others, especially among women. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia and generalized anxiety disorder, also sometimes accompany depression. Women are more prone than men to having a coexisting anxiety disorder. Women suffering from PTSD, which can result after a person endures a terrifying ordeal or event, are especially prone to having depression.
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