Depression is a serious and complex mental disorder that affects the way you think, feel and act. Fortunately, it is a treatable condition that responds well to therapy and medication. But treatment isn’t a one-and-done event. Because depression can be chronic and recurrent, people with the disorder may have to change their treatment from time to time.
To ensure that people are receiving the right help, depression screenings are important tools. In honor of National Depression Screening Day on October 6th, 2022, we’d like to address the importance of screenings, what they entail and who should receive them.
Depression is a Common Mental Health Disorder
Depression is a very common mental disorder that affects millions of people. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 21 million adults had at least one major depressive episode, representing 8.4 percent of all American adults. It is more likely to affect women than men, and it can lead to self-harm, suicide and death.
Treatment is available for mild, moderate and severe depression. While it may take time to find the right combination of medication and therapy, it’s important for people with depression to have hope. Depression is treatable, and many people with it live happy, healthy and productive lives.
Why Depression Screenings are Important
Mental health screenings are an important part of mental health, even from a young age. Approximately half of mental disorders begin by age 14 and 75 percent begin by age 24. However, these are also the years when kids are growing and becoming adults. It’s normal to misread the signs of depression (moodiness, isolation) for normal teenage behavior.
Mental health screenings bridge this gap by identifying mental disorders early and allowing for early intervention. This leads to improved outcomes, plus lowers the risk of long-term disability and suffering. All mental health screenings should be conducted in a doctor’s office or school. If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, talk to your doctor about a depression screening.
Who Should be Screened for Depression?
Because it can be difficult to spot the early signs of depression, many doctors’ offices are now screening every patient at their yearly checkups. This tool gives them insight into their patients’ mental health and identifies people who may be at risk of depression in the future.
While there is no harm in anyone taking a screening test, it is highly recommend for anyone experiencing the following:
- Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Reduced appetite and weight loss; increased appetite and weight gain
- Loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Restlessness or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering information
- Trouble making decisions
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Thoughts of death, self-harm or suicide
Many Paths to Treating Depression
Depression looks different in different people. That’s why it’s important to know that there are many paths to healing. What worked for your friend may not work for you, and that’s okay. Spearhead Health is here to help you and your family work through your mental health challenges.
Many people benefit from a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, but we’ve also seen people thrive with exercise, meditation, interpersonal therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Contact us today to learn more about our flexible and personalized treatment approaches for depression.