than a third of the people who screen positive for depression received
- People from lower socioeconomic
strata and with less education more likely to be depressed
- Access to treatment is
unavailable to racial minorities, the poor and the uninsured.
- Such critical gaps in treatment
of depression have to be addressed
National Survey on
Treatment for Depression
is a fairly commonly occurring
disorder worldwide. A recent national survey conducted in the US threw up some
Scientists from Columbia University
Medical Center (CUMC) and the University of Pennsylvania studied data from a
national survey that focused on the treatment of depression.
The survey involved over 46000 adults, and was conducted in 2012 and 2013. It
collected information regarding symptoms of depression, severe psychological
distress, whether people were being treated with antidepressants
or both, the types of health
care professionals that were providing treatment, and other data such as age, gender,
race, education, marital status, income and health insurance status.
‘Anti-depressant treatment should be accessible to those who need it.’
of The Study
The study revealed the following facts,
some of them were startling.
incidence of depression was nearly five times higher
amongst individuals in the lower income group than in people belonging to the
high income group
. It was also seen fairly commonly among
adults who were divorced, separated or widowed, had public health insurance or
had not studied beyond a high school education.
Persons, who were highly likely
to receive treatment included those with publicly-insurance, and separated/divorced/widowed people,
whilst those least likely to get treatment included the uninsured, racial and ethnic minorities and men
Surprisingly, most people (70.1%) who were being managed for depression did not screen
positive for depression on the two-question screen
. Though this
finding seems surprising, it was not totally unexpected.
Prescriptions for anti-depressants had
become so rampant in the 1990s that a few people began referring to
the United States Prozac Nation. Many of
the prescriptions were not given for actual depression
days, even some pets are known to take Prozac
. Still the finding shows that's there's a
huge mismatch between those who are
suffering from depression, and those who are being actually treated
study concluded with an observation that less than a third of persons screening
positive for depression received treatment in the last year.
Lessons From The Study
Healthcare providers should pay more
attention to the severity of a person's depression and then treat based on each
individual patient's needs.
"These patterns suggest that more needs
to be done to ensure that depression care is neither too intensive nor
insufficient for each patient. Although screening tools provide only a rough
index of depression severity, increasing their use might nevertheless help
align depression care with each patient's needs," said Mark Olfson, MD, MPH,
professor of psychiatry at CUMC and senior author of the report.
The study concludes saying that: "Although
access to depression care has expanded in recent years, critical treatment gaps
persist, especially for racial/ethnic minorities, low income individuals, less
educated adults and uninsured people
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression
) is a fairly common
occurrence, but a serious mood disorder. Severe symptoms occur, that may affect
how one feels, thinks, or copes with daily activities, such as eating, sleeping
or working. Diagnosis
requires symptoms to have been present for at least 2 weeks to make a
The World Health Organization (WHO) has
ranked depression as the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide
and predicts that by 2020, it will become the second leading cause.
and Symptoms of Depression
feeling sad, anxious, or "empty"
despair, or negative feelings
thoughts of death or suicide, or attempt to end one's life
guilty, and worthless
loss of interest and pleasure in hobbies and leisure activities
energy or feeling of tiredness
deliberate movements, speaking slowly
restless and fidgety
in concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning
awakening, or oversleeping
and/or weight changes
- Vagueaches or pains, headaches, cramps
Even the most severe cases of depression
can be treated. The earlier the treatment begins, the more effective will be.
It is usually managed with medications
, interpersonal therapy), or a combination of both.
If these treatments do not cause improvement in symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy
(ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies
may be options to try out for the possibility of a cure.
of Self Care in Depression
Having depression can make it quite difficult to find the
energy and enthusiasm to take care of oneself. However, taking an active role
in one's treatment, trying to help oneself cope with various experiences, may
make a big difference in how one feels. Some of the things that one needs to do
and sleeping well
active and indulging in exercises such as walking or cycling
good personal hygiene
drugs and alcohol
time to do things that one enjoys
or joining a support group
out new things
a mood diary to monitor progress
- About Depression - (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml)
- The epidemiology of depression across cultures - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4100461/)
- Depression - General Information - (http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/self-care-for-depression/#.V9vFK_l97IV)