Many Americans suffer from mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. Studies show these health problems and illnesses affect about 1 in 5 Americans. A tough situation such as a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, or financial distress can trigger or increase depression and anxiety.
Do You Know the Signs?
Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience:
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment
Effective Treatment Exists
People who suffer from depression or anxiety should seek help as early as possible. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, many never seek treatment. New research suggests that racial minorities and people with less than a high school education may be less likely to be diagnosed for depression. It is often difficult for depressed or anxious people to believe that things can get better. Try not to let hopelessness or shame stop you or a friend from getting medical help. Take action.
Where to Find Help